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. Chemical Potential. Grand Canonical Ensemble. [5]

Classical gases. Density of states and the classical limit. Ideal gas. Maxwell distribution. Equipartition of energy.  Diatomic gas. Interacting gases. Virial expansion. Van der Waal’s equation of state. Basic kinetic theory. [3]

Quantum gases. Density of states. Planck distribution and black body radiation. Debye model of phonons in solids. Bose-Einstein distribution. Ideal Bose gas and Bose-Einstein condensation. Fermi-Dirac distribution. Ideal Fermi gas. Pauli paramagnetism. [8]

Thermodynamics. Thermodynamic temperature scale. Heat and work. Carnot cycle. Applications of laws of thermodynamics. Thermodynamic potentials. Maxwell relations. [4]

Phase transitions. Liquid-gas transitions. Critical point and critical exponents. Ising model. Mean field theory. First and second order phase transitions. Symmetries and order parameters. [4]


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.

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