Physics 603


Solutions to the Final Exam are now posted. The average was 100.5; the standard deviation 23.7. Highest score: 134; lowest: 41.

Solutions to Set 9 are now posted.

Note that all non-auditors have approved moving the final exam from 8:00-10:00 to 10:30-12:30 on Monday May 14. The room will likely be 1204 of the Physics Building. Approval has now been received from the administration. Like the midterm, the final will be open notes and printouts and open Pathria & Beale (but no other books).

Teaching evaluations can be submitted online at

Solutions to the midterm are posted on the password-protected page. Remember that the course is graded on a curve!

Here is the statement to drop into Mathematica. Remember to touch the icons to the right of the slider to get more information and controls. You should play with the values. Recall that ahDT stands for (a/2)(T-To).

Manipulate[ Plot[-B*m + ahDT*m^2 + (1/4)*f4*m^4 + (1/6)* f6* m^6, {m, -1, +1}], {ahDT, -2, +2, 0.01}, {f4, -4, +4, 1}, {f6, 0, 10, 1}, {B, 0, 2}]

A second version of a study guide is now posted; click here.

I have set up a class account for PHYS 603 on Piazza ( ) for this semester. Piazza is a question-and-answer platform specifically designed to get you answers fast and was recommended by a UM colleague. Piazza supports LaTeX, code formatting, embedding of images, and attaching of files. It is reputed to be quicker and more efficient than sending individual emails. You are encouraged to ask questions when you're struggling to understand a concept—you can even do so anonymously.
See this recent New York Times article to learn more about the story of Piazza's founder (who earned her M.S. in computer science at UMCP, alas not mentioned in the article):

Last updated: May 10, 2012


Also listed as CHPH 718F

Instructor: Prof. Theodore L. Einstein
Room: 2310 Physics
Phone: 301-405-6147

Tuesdays, Thursday 9:30 - 10:45 am
Room 1410, Physics Bldg.

Office hours: Mondays 11am-noon, Tuesdays 3:00 - 3:55 pm, and by arrangement. On Monday, March 12 there will be an extra office hour in the afternoon instead of the usual one on Tuesday afternoon.

Teaching assistant (1/2-time): Yigit Subasi

Office hour: Wednesdays 1:00 - 2:00 pm, room 4207, Physics Bldg.

Prerequisite: An undergraduate course on thermal physics or thermodynamics and statistical physics.

Course Text: R.K. Pathria and P.D. Beale, Statistical Mechanics, 3rd ed., Academic Press, 2011; pb [978-0123821881]. For your information, here is its table of contents. Please report any typos you find. Here is a list of those currently known.

Strongly Recommended (on official list at bookstore): Mehran Kardar, Statistical Physics of Particles, Cambridge, 2007 [978-0521873413].

See also a long list of references at various levels, as well as the reference list for PHYS 704 last year, an online compilation, and list of references on the philosophy of statistical mechanics.

Schedule: A schedule is posted, keyed to the various texts. Expect several updates as the semester progresses. Topics covered in multiple texts are very likely to be covered, while those only in Pathria & Beale may be skipped.


Homework will be assigned regularly (every few lectures) by posting on the Homework Assignments page below. It will count ~30% of the total score for the class. Students are welcome to discuss problems with other classmembers after thinking about them alone, but must write them up independently. Homework should thus not be viewed as a take-home exam, but each student should develop a personal command of the material. Cases of copied homework will be treated harshly. Solutions will be posted on the password-protected website on the next lecture day ("deadline date") after the due date. Thereafter, no late problem sets can be accepted for credit.

There will be a midterm test on March 13 and a final exam on May 14. On the midterm, you will be allowed a copy of the text and any notes that you have produced. The tests will count about 30% and 40%, respectively, of the total score on which grades will be based. These tests will emphasize parts of stat mech problems from previous qualifier exams as well as variants of homework problems. 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.


Link to site for Informal Statistical Mechanics Seminar, Tuesdays, 1:15pm, IPST Rm. 1116


Link to site for CNAM Colloquium (Condensed Matter Seminar), Thursdays, 2pm, Physics Rm. 1201

Link to site for Math RIT (Research Interaction Team) on Aspects of Statistical Mechanics with Applications, Mondays, 4pm, Math Rm. 1308



Academic Integrity: The University of Maryland, College Park has a nationally recognized Code
of Academic Integrity, administered by the Student Honor Council. This Code sets standards for
academic integrity at Maryland for all undergraduate and graduate students. As a student you
are responsible for upholding these standards for this course. It is very important for you to be
aware of the consequences of cheating, fabrication, facilitation, and plagiarism. For more
information on the Code of Academic Integrity or the Student Honor Council, please visit

Physics Department, University of Maryland,
College Park, MD 20742-4111
Phone: 301.405.3401 Fax: 301.314.9525
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