Physics 763 (old 203) - Statistical Mechanics

TuTh 10:05 AM - 11:20 AM Physics 299

Gleb Finkelstein, Rm. 093, phone: 660-2523, e-mail: gleb at

Office hours: Wednesday 8:45-10:00 am + 15 min. after the class

TA: Leo (Yao-Lung) Fang, e-mail: leo80042 at gmail

Office hours: Monday 10:00-11:00 am and Friday 3:00-4:00 pm


Main one: Statistical Mechanics, 2nd Edition, by R.K. Pathria (Elsevier) 
Also, have a look at these books 
(for the following subjects listed according to the syllabus)
Statistical Physics (Part 1), by Landau & Lifshitz  (1c-4a)
Statistical Mechanics, by S.-K. Ma (4)
Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics, by F. Reif  (6, but also 3-5)
Statistical Mechanics, by K. Huang (5)
Physical Kinetics, by E M Lifshitz and L P Pitaevskii (5)
Statistical Physics I: Equilibrium Statistical Mechanics by M. Toda, R. Kubo, N. Saito and M. Toda (1-2)
The Principles of Statistical Mechanics, by R.C. Tolman (1a)
Statistical Mechanics: A Set of Lectures by R.P. Feynman (1c)
Thermodynamics and an Introduction to Thermostatistics, by H.B. Callen (0 - refresh your thermodynamics)
in no particular order


1. Formulation of Statistical Mechanics:
    a. Ensemble Theory, Liouville's equation
    b. Canonical and Grand Canonical Ensemble
    c. Density matrix, Wigner function
2. Gases:
    a. Classical ideal: rotations, vibrations
    b. Bose: condensation, black-body radiation, Debye model
    c. Fermi: heat capacitance, magnetization (Pauli and Landau), Thomas-Fermi model
3. Non-ideal Gas:
    a. Cluster expansion
    b. Van der Vaals gas
4. Phase Transitions:
Landau functional 
    b. Ising model
    c. Mean field approximation
5. Kinetic Theory:
    a. Heat conductance
    b. H theorem
6. Fluctuations:
    a. Brownian motion,
    b. Fluctuation-Dissipation theorem,
    c. Johnson–Nyquist noise

(full set for the year; due dates to be communicated as the course progresses)
Lecture notes
(they are not original or proof-read, but will give you a general idea of material covered)

It is OK to work in groups on the current homework assignments.
Using homeworks and solutions from the previous years is NOT allowed,
and will be considered as a reason for a failing grade. 
Graded Material

Problem sets (mostly weekly): 20 %

Midterm exam: 20 %
Final exam: 60 % 

If the final exam and the average home work grades differ by more than 30/100, 

the lower of the two may be taken in lieu of the higher.

The midterm exam covers all subjects through 2a (classical ideal gases)

The final includes all subjects covered in HW (syllabus items 1-4, also some material from items 5-6)

Final EXAM
Sunday, December 16      2:00 PM - 5:00 PM 

Fall 2012, last updated: 17-Aug-2012
Originally prepared for Spring 2007.