Institute of Astronomy

Part II Statistical Physics

Further information about this course is available on the Department of Mathematics course pages. Examples papers are available on the DAMTP Examples page.

Lent Term, 24 Lectures – Dr U Sperhake

Fundamentals of statistical mechanics. Microcanonical ensemble. Entropy, temperature and pressure. Laws of thermodynamics. Example of paramagnetism. Boltzmann distribution and canonical ensemble. Partition function. Free energy. Specific heats. [4]

Classical and quantum gases. Density of states and the classical limit. Idea gas. Maxwell distribution. Equipartition of energy Diatomic gas. Planck distribution and black body radiation. Debye model of photons in solids. Interacting gases. Virial expansion. Van der Waals equation of state. Basic kinetic theory. [8]

Thermodynamics. Thermodynamic temperature scale. Applications of laws of thermodynamics. Thermodynamic potentials. Maxwell relations. Heat and work. [3]

Grand canonical ensemble. Variable particle number. Chemical potential. Example of interacting classical gas. Bose-Einstein and Fermi-Dirac distributions. Bose-Einstein condensation. Ideal Fermi gas. Pauli paramagnetism. [6]

Phase transitions. Critical point in gases. Symmetries. Order parameters. First and second order phase transitions. Ising model. Mean field theory.


F. Mandl Statistical Physics. Wiley 1988 
R.K.Pathria Statistical Mechanics, 2nd ed.. Butterworth-Heinemann 1996 
L.D. Landau and E.M. Lifshitz Statistical Physics, Part 1 (Course of Theoretical Physics volume 5). Butterworth-Heinemann 1996 paperback). 
F. Reif Fundamentals of Thermal and Statistical Physics. McGraw-Hill 196
A. B. Pippard Elements of Classical Thermodynamics, Cambridge University Press, 1957
Huang Introduction to Statistical Physics. Taylor and Francis 2001.

Page last updated: 3 February 2014 at 10:45