Syllabus Spring 2018 Physics V4100

Physics V4100: Statistical Mechanics

TTh 2:00 { 4:00 pm, GC{Room 6495
Instructor: Prof. B. Tiburzi
Oce Hours: T 4:00 { 6:00 pm, GC{TBA
Grading: Assignments: 25%
Exams: 3 25% (March 8, April 19, May 24 *1:00 pm*)

Course Focus:
The behavior of systems with a very large number of degrees of freedom is the subject of statistical mechanics, under
which macroscopic systems are governed by statistical laws. As such, the eld of statistical mechanics provides some of
the most widely encountered tools in the physical sciences. This course will present an account of the fundamentals of
statistical mechanics, its connection to thermodynamics, and various applications. Knowledge of quantum mechanics
will be assumed; prior enrollment in Physics V250: Quantum Mechanics I, or equivalent, is required.

Topics: probability and statistics; microcanonical, canoncial, and grand canonical ensembles; classical gasses, both
ideal and interacting; kinetic theory; quantum gasses, blackbody radiation, phonons, Bose-Einstein condensation,
Fermi gasses; laws of thermodynamics, thermodynamic potentials; phase transitions. Time pending, additional topics
may be covered: chemical reactions; atmospheric clouds; matter at high densities, nuclei and stars; thermodynamics
of the early universe.

Reference Material:
There will be no required textbook required for this course. For the core topics, I plan to largely follow
S. R. Salinas, Introduction to Statistical Physics, Springer $$$$ (2001), reissued under Springer India $ (2010).
[ Clear and detailed on core topics, somewhat weak on advanced topics and on modern applications ]
Additional material will be drawn from other sources, in particular, applications of statistical and thermal physics to
interesting systems. Here is a short list of references you may nd useful. I am happy to suggest additional references
based on individual interests and preferences.
F. Reif, Fundamentals of Statistical Mechanics and Thermal Physics, Waveland Press (2008).
[ Reissue of a classic textbook, comprehensive, easy to read ]
R. K. Pathria and P. D. Beale, Statistical Mechanics, 3rd Edition, Academic Press (2011).
[ Up-to-date comprehensive reference, contains enough material for a year-long course, quirky ]
M. Kardar, Statistical Physics of Particles, Cambridge University Press (2007).
[ Concise modern treatment, somewhat more advanced level, reads like lecture notes ]
D. Tong, Statistical Physics (2012),
[ Concise yet informative, a valuable resource for consolidating for the qualifying exam ]

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism: The CCNY policy on Academic Integrity will be strictly adhered
to. The document entitled, CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity, is available from the link at the bottom of the
CCNY homepage. Make sure you have read the details regarding plagiarism and cheating, and be clear about the
rules that the college follows. Cases where academic integrity is compromised will be prosecuted to the fullest extent
according to these rules.

Class Schedule
The coverage of topics listed is only approximate. Classes will not be held on the crossed out date. Boxed dates
represent classes during which assignments will be due.

Date Topic
1/30 Probability and Statistics
2/1 Probability and Statistics
2/6 Quantum State Space
2/8 Classical Phase Space
2/13 Classical Thermodynamics
2/15 Classical Thermodynamics
2/20 Monday Schedule
2/22 Microcanonical Ensemble
2/27 Microcanonical Ensemble
3/1 Canonical Ensemble
3/6 Canonical Ensemble
3/8 Exam I
3/13 Ideal Classical Gas
3/15 Interacting Classical Gas
3/20 Ensemble Theory
3/22 Grand Canonical Ensemble
3/27 Quantum Statistics
3/29 Ideal Fermi Gas
4/10 Ideal Fermi Gas
4/12 Bose-Einstein Condensation
4/17 Photon Gas
4/19 Exam II
4/24 Abrupt Phase Transitions
4/26 Abrupt Phase Transitions
5/1 Continuous Phase Transitions
5/3 Continuous Phase Transitions
5/8 Ising Model
5/10 Correlations and Fluctuations
5/15 Mean Field and Variational Analysis
5/24 Exam III