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Statistical/Thermal Physics

Fall 2010 - PHY 441

Instructor: S. Banu Ozkan

Phone: (480) 965-2890

Office Hours: M & W 11:40-1:00 in PSF-350, or by appointment

You can download syllabus

You can access lecture notes through ASU-Blackboard


Textbook: Statistical and Thermal Physics, M. D. Sturge
Lectures: M, W, and F; 10:45-11:35; in PSF-366
Homework: About 6 problems per week.
Midterms: Three midterm exams are scheduled, on Sept. 17, Oct. 18, and Nov. 12
Final Exam: Scheduled for 9:50-11:40 AM on Monday, December 13
Final Project: A Monte-Carlo simulation is due December 14

Additional Sources:

Class website: http://mycourses.asu.edu/ ; http://physics.asu.edu/ozkan/phy441.html
Other websites: http://stp.clarku.edu; http://history.hyperjeff.net/statmech.html
Supplementary texts: Thermodynamics, H. B. Callen; Thermal Physics, Baierlein; Thermal Physics, C. Kittel & H. Kroemer; Statistical Mechanics, K. Huang; Statistical and Thermal Physics, F. Reif; Molecular Driving Forces, Ken A Dill & Sarina Bromberg

Course Overview:

Statistical physics provides a framework for relating the microscopic properties of individual atoms and molecules to the macroscopic or bulk properties of materials, therefore explaining thermodynamics as a natural result of statistics and mechanics (classical and quantum) at the microscopic level. The main asset of the statistical physics is its ability to make macroscopic predictions based on microscopic properties. Many of the key insights in statistical mechanics comes from simple assumptions that may be seem unrealistic at first glance. For example, particles are presented as perfect spheres without taking into account the atomic detail, or neglecting the interaction with the other particles. The statistical thermodynamics has a history of what might be called "the unreasonable effectiveness of unrealistic simplifications". The two-dimensional Ising model can be the perfect example: up and down spins on a square lattice. However, Onsager's famous solution to this simplified model was a major contribution in understanding of phase transition and critical phenomena. Statistical physics is still one of the broadest and most active areas of physics. It can be applied for systems on size scales from subatomic particles to large-scale structures in the universe. It is valid in all mechanical limits: classical, quantum, and relativistic. Moreover, it is relevant for information technology, and is essential for understanding the practical properties of materials. Pioneers in the field are among the most colorful and creative personalities in physics, including Maxwell, Boltzmann, Gibbs, Onsager and Einstein.

Course Outline:

1. Temperature Heat Work (First Law)
2. Micro States-Macro State (Multiplicity)
3. Entropy, Free Energy,The second law of thermodynamics (multiplicity)
4. Heat Engines
5. The Canonical Distribution: (The Boltzmann Factor and Partition Function)
6. Density of States and Equipartion
7. Chemical potential Minimum Free energy
8. Perfect Gases
9.The classical Limit (Maxwell'stheory)
10. Quantum ideal gas
11. Photons and Phonons
12. Fermions and Bosons
13. Approaching zero (third law)
14. Phase equilibria
15. Critical phenomena
Center for Biological Physics Arizona State University Bateman Physical Sciences Building F-Wing, Room 359 Tempe, AZ 85287-1504