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Physics 425: Statistical And Thermal Physics


Course Outline

Probability and necessary mathematics: Probability, distributions, counting, partial derivatives

Basics of classical thermodynamics: States, macroscopic vs. microscopic, "heat" and "work", energy, entropy, equilibrium, laws of thermodynamics

More classical thermodynamics:Equations of state, thermodynamic potentials, temperature, pressure,chemical potential, thermodynamic processes (engines, refrigerators),Maxwell relations, phase equilibria.

Statistical mechanics - the formalism:Counting states, ensembles (microcanonical, canonical, grandcanonical), the partition function and its applications, fluctuationsfrom equilibrium, equipartition.

Magnetic systems: Paramagnetism, ferromagnetism, adiabatic cooling, susceptibility and correlations, mean field theory, Ising model.

Gases: Classical ideal gas(Maxwell distribution), Bose gas (mode-counting, photons, phonons,BEC), Fermi gas (degeneracy pressure, heat capacity), van der Waals and"real" gases.

Phase transitions: Landau theory, scaling, renormalization, solution to 1D Ising

Transport: Diffusion, Brownian motion, Boltzmann equation.

Special topics: Arrow of time, fluctuation-dissipation theorem, nonequilibrium systems, granular media, the density matrix



Lectures T Th 1:00 - 2:20 PM

Homework (40%) Weekly problem sets

Term exam (30%)

Final exam (30%)

Text: F. Reif, Statistical and Thermal Physics

Posted solutions for problems


All information is representative only, and is likely to change from year to year.