This textbook is intended for use in undergraduate courses in thermodynamics and
statistical mechanics, at the sophomore through senior level. Its notable features
- A balanced treatment of classical thermodynamics and
statistical mechanics. Both the macroscopic and microscopic
viewpoints have their advantages, so I've tried to present and use both,
without giving undue emphasis to either.
- A clear story-line. Fundamentals come first, then thermodynamics
applications, then statistical mechanics applications. Each chapter introduces
one or two powerful tools and then applies these tools to a variety of
phenomena. This organizational
plan highlights the most important principles, and gives readers and instructors
a great deal of flexibility in choosing what topics to cover.
- Informal writing style. I'd rather talk to you directly
than pontificate in the passive voice.
- Minimal prerequisites. Before reading this book you should
have taken a calculus-based introductory physics course, not necessarily
including thermodynamics. A concurrent course in multivariable calculus is
recommended but not absolutely necessary.
- An emphasis on applications. In selecting material I've
tried to emphasize what is immediately and obviously applicable to the
real world. The book is
full of applications to condensed matter physics, astrophysics, chemistry,
earth science, engineering, and everyday life. It's not just for physics
- Short enough for a one-semester course. Although the
book contains plenty of advanced material for a longer course (especially
problems), you can cover all the fundamentals and most of the
applications in a three-hour, one-semester course.
(click here for full
Part I: Fundamentals
- Chapter 1: Energy in Thermal Physics.
An overview of temperature, ideal gases,
equipartition, the first law, heat capacities, and transport processes.
- Chapter 2: The Second Law.
Fundamental statistical ideas applied to two-state systems
and the Einstein solid model; analysis of two interacting
Einstein solids, leading to the second law; multiplicity of an
ideal gas; statistical definition of entropy.
- Chapter 3: Interactions and Implications.
Temperature, pressure, and chemical potential
as partial derivatives of the entropy; the relation between entropy and heat;
prediction of heat
capacities and other thermal properties of a paramagnet, Einstein
solid, and ideal gas (all microcanonical).
Part II: Thermodynamics
- Chapter 4: Engines and Refrigerators.
Derivation of limits on efficiency from the laws of
thermodynamics; Carnot cycle; realistic cycles for internal
combustion engines, steam engines, and refrigeration; methods
of reaching very low temperatures.
- Chapter 5: Free Energy and Chemical Thermodynamics.
Definitions and interpretations of Helmholtz and Gibbs free energies;
applications to electrochemistry, phase transformations, mixtures,
dilute solutions, and chemical equilibrium.
Part III: Statistical Mechanics
- Chapter 6: Boltzmann Statistics.
Boltzmann factors and partition functions, including applications
to atomic and molecular excitations, paramagnetism, equipartition theorem, Maxwell
distribution, ideal gases.
- Chapter 7: Quantum Statistics.
Gibbs factors; Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein distributions;
degenerate electron gases; blackbody radiation; Debye theory; Bose-Einstein
- Chapter 8: Systems of Interacting Particles.
Weakly interacting gases treated via diagrammatic perturbation theory,
and an introduction to the Ising model emphasizing Monte Carlo simulation.
* * *
- Appendix A: Elements of Quantum Mechanics.
A summary of the quantum mechanics that is used in the text,
for those who wish for a more systematic treatment.
- Appendix B: Mathematical Results.
Gaussian integrals, the gamma function, Stirling's approximation,
and other derivations of results used in the text.
- Suggested Reading
- Reference Data
Last modified on November 17, 1999.