Department of Physics, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Course Title: Physics 404: Introduction to Statistical Thermodynamics
Instructor: Prof. Ted Einstein
Office: Physics Bldg., Room 2310; Phone: 301-405-6147
e-mail: einstein at umd.edu
Office hours: 2:00-3:30 on Tuesdays, by arrangement (email or phone), and to be announced.
Course Description: Physics 404 (formerly PHYS 414) is an introductory course on thermodynamics, statistical mechanics and kinetic theory. It is designed for physics majors but also suitable for advanced undergraduate students in astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering and space sciences. 3 Credits
Time & Place: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 12:30-1:50 p.m., room 1402, Physics Bldg.
Teaching Assistant/Grader: Yigit Subasi
Office: Physics Bldg., Room 3101; Phone: 301-405-6194
e-mail: ysubasi at umd.edu
Office hours: 2:00-4:00 on Thursdays
Text: Primary: S.G. & K.M. Blundell, Concepts in Thermal Physics (Oxford U. Press, 2006, reprinted 2007 with corrections, and more posted online for the text) and for the problems) [978-0-19-856770-7], supplemented by Harvey Gould and Jan Tobochnik, Thermal and Statistical Physics, chaps. 1-7, From this link, you can view the chapters one by one. I have posted all 7 chapters as a single pdf file and as a cropped version, suitable for 2pps printing if desired.
Other strongly recommended books:
Daniel V. Schroeder, Thermal Physics (Addison Wesley Longman, 2000) [0-201-38027-7], text used in Spring 2007
Ralph Baierlein, Thermal Physics, (Cambridge University Press, 2000, pb) [0 -521-65838-1]
C. Kittel and H. Kroemer, Thermal Physics, 2nd Edition (Freeman, San Francisco, 1980) [0-7167-1088-9], unpopular but used as course text by many other teachers of this course
M. D. Sturge, Statistical and Thermal Physics (A K Peters, 2003) [156881196-1], lots of typos
Review of Blundell^2 in Physics Today
Reviews of Schroeder, Baierlein, and Reichl (advanced text) in Am. J. Phys. 1999 (accessible from umd.edu sites)
Schroeder, including flattering reviews, at amazon.com
There are many other texts. You should browse around and find the ones that appeal to you. Here are comments by Cowley at Rutgers, by Styer at Oberlin . You should also make regular use of the web resources on the weblist class site.
A new text, not on these lists, is D. Yoshioka, Statistical Physics: An Introduction (Springer, 2005); it is somewhat more advanced but provides a succinct discussion with more depth than the course text.
Homework: There will be homework assignments about weekly (every 2-3 lectures). They are a very important part of the course; to master the material generally requires doing problems conscientiously. But homework is not a take-home test: Students are encouraged to discuss the problems with each other after thinking about them alone, and to explore the physics behind the problems. However, each student should write answers individually and be thoroughly in command of the underlying physics. Solutions will be posted on the next lecture day ("deadline date") after the due date. Thereafter, no late problem sets can be accepted for credit.
Grading: The course grade will be based primarily on total points, with the following weighting:
2 midterm tests ~
20-23% each Quizzes ~0-10%
Final exam ~
The only acceptable excuses for missing a test are those established by the university: religious holiday [which I have avoided, to the best of my knowledge], illness, or an official university event. You will need a written note on official stationery to establish your excuse. The mid-term tests will be during class time on March 11 and April 17. The Schedule of Classes lists the final as taking place on Tuesday, May 20, 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. The unusually large size of the class may well necessate that tests be given in a room different from the classroom and will not allow for quizzes. Final grades will be based on the above weighting and on a second composite that greatly downweights the poorest (relative) performance on one of the above 4 components. If these distributions are cooperative, borders between grades will be set in gaps, so that a small change in points will not alter the letter grade received.
We will follow Blundell & Blundell (Blundell^2) but supplement from Gould and Tobochnik. You should read the listed sections from Blundell^2 before class to get the most out of the lectures. Read through all of the problems, in addition to the text. The assignments from Blundell^2 are mandatory. The readings from Gould & Tobochnik should increase your understanding of the material, but the presentation does not neatly map to that by Blundell^2 (though it maps more smoothly than to Schroeder, used last year). The following schedule should be viewed as very tentative, since I have not used Blundell^2 before.
|Jan. 29||1||1.1-1.6 , 1.10||thermodynamic limit, ideal gas, combinatorics|
|Jan. 31||2,3||1.11, 2.10, 3.2-3.41||heat, heat capacity; probability|
|Feb. 5||4||column inaccurate||temperature, equilibrium,ensembles,Boltzmann factor ,0th law|
|Feb. 7||5 (not 5.3)||below,to be revised||Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution|
|Feb. 12||6||4 various||pressure: why, implications|
|Feb. 14||7.1, part of 7.2&8||flux,some on effusion, mean free path, collisions|
|9, bits of 10||some on transport & thermal diffusion|
|Feb. 19||11||2.8||1st law, energy, functions of state|
|Feb. 21||12||2.11,2.14||reversibility, isothermal, adiabatic|
|Feb. 26||13||2nd law, heat engines, Carnot cycles|
|Feb. 28||14||2.15||entropy, irreversibility, free expansion, mixing|
|Mar. 11||Midterm 1|
|Mar. 13||15||information theory, Shannon entropy|
|Mar. 18, 20||Spring Break|
|Mar. 25||16||2.21-2.25||thermodynamic potentials, Maxwell relations|
|Mar. 27||17, 18 (parts)||2.20,5.1(part),5.2||surface tension, paramagnetism, 3rd law|
|Apr. 1||19||6.3,||equipartition, Brownian motion|
|Apr. 3||20||4.6-4.8||partition function Z|
|Apr. 8||21||6.2,6.4||ideal gas|
|Apr. 10||22||2.18,2.21,4.12,6.2||chemical potential, grand partition function,chemical reactions|
|Apr. 15||23||6.7.2,6.9||photons, black-body radiation|
|Apr. 17||Midterm 2|
|Apr. 22||24||6.5,6.11||lattice vibrations & phonons: Einstein & Debye models|
|Apr. 24||26||6.6,6.7,6.10||real gases|
|Apr. 29||28||(done w/ Ising model)||phase transitions|
|May 1||29,30||6.5,6.6,6.7,6.10||quantum distributions, degenerate & low-T Fermi gas, metals|
|May 6||30||6.12||quantum gases, Bose-Einstein condensation|
|May 8||30,28||remnants, etc.|
|May 13||tba||remnants, review|
|May 20, 1:30||Final exam|
Last updated May 7, 2008