* Spring 2010***Physics
603** - ** Chem. Phys. 718F**

** THE
BASIS AND ESSENTIALS OF STATISTICAL MECHANICS **

**Instructor:** ** Michael E. Fisher**, Room
2100A, IPST, Bldg. 085; tel. 5-4819;
xpectnil@umd.edu

**Time:** Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:30
am to 10:45 am

**Place:** Room 1201 Physics.

**Credit:** 3 hours.

**Prerequisites:** An undergraduate course in thermal physics or thermodynamics
and statistical mechanics; some

basic quantum mechanics. This course is planned as a graduate level introduction.

** OUTLINE**
(subject to some changes in scope and emphasis):

** I. Thermodynamics**: Macroscopic/microscopic
variables, extensivity; First and Second Laws; Assemblies:
thermo-potentials, Legendre transforms, thermodynamic relations.

** II. Foundations of Statistical Mechanics:** * Classical
mechanics*, Hamiltonian, phase space; Ergodic approach; Ensemble
approach, microcanonical postulate; Canonical and grand-canonical
ensembles; classical ideal gas; fluctuations of energy and particle
number.

Quantum statistical mechanics

** III. Introductory Applications:** Ideal
gas of particles with structure: rotational specific heats;
ortho-, para-,

normal H_{2}; metastability. ** Chemical
Equilibria**.

ture specific heats, Debye model,

** Assignments: **Problem sets are an important part of the course and
will be handed out about every two weeks. There will be a Mid-term and Final
Examination, most probably both in a take-home format.

** TEXTS:** There
is **no**** required text **for this course: notes taken in class
will be important. However, in the past, many students with a physics background
have found the following book helpful and similar in approach

to the course:

Other books also recommended are, first,

and, with rather full coverage, also:

will be discussed in class in an early lecture and should be

* *