Statistical and Thermal Physics


This is the required text for the course; it is available through the USM Bookstore, as well as the usual online sources. 

This course deals with the physics of systems containing upwards of 1023 particles. The subject matter of Statistical and Thermal physics is much different than that of other courses you’ve taken in that there are no overarching equations (like Newton’s Second Law, Maxwell’s equations, or Schrodinger’s Equation) that govern the behavior of the system. Instead, we use phenomenological reasoning without reference to the microscopic features of the system, and for this reason, this course is often more difficult than the more tool-based structure of other physics courses. 

We will begin with a qualitative investigation between the microscopic and macroscopic viewpoints as a way to frame the semester and then we will  engage in a study of classical thermodynamics—where we see that the macroscopic behavior of the system is independent of the microscopic details of the constituents.  

Next, we study probability theory and see how it applies in everyday life, and finally we move onto a detailed study of statistical physics. The remainder of the course will examine topics such as magnetic (Ising) systems, and many-particle systems such as Fermi and Bose gases. 


Physics 121, 123, and Physics 211 or consent of instructor


Here it is

Problem Sets

Problem Set I       Problem Set II     Problem Set III      Problem Set IV     Problem Set V

Problem Set VI    Problem Set VII  Problem Set VIII   Problem Set IX     Problem Set X

iPython Notebooks and python scripts

Monte Carlo simulation of an ideal gas in a box: IdealGasInABox.ipynb

Rough Schedule of topics

Tentative calendar of Topics