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Module MA3443: Statistical Physics I

Credit weighting (ECTS)
5 credits
Semester/term taught
Michaelmas term 2012-13
Contact Hours
11 weeks, 3 lectures including tutorials per week
Dr. Christopher Thomas
Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to

  • Explain the ideas of equilibrium thermodynamics and apply them to various systems.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how macroscopic equilibrium properties arise from the underlying microscopic physics.
  • Show familiarity with the notion of ensembles and use the formalism of statistical physics.
  • Include interactions systematically through appropriate expansions.
  • Explain the concept of a first order phase transition.
Module Content
  • Review of thermodynamics;
  • Classical statistical mechanics;
  • Microcanonical, canonical and grand canonical ensembles;
  • Classical ideal gas;
  • Inclusion of interactions;
  • Van-der-Waals Gas;
  • The cluster expansion and virial coefficients;
  • Introduction to first order phase transitions;
Module Prerequisite
MA2342 - Advanced Classical Mechanics II
Assessment Detail
This module will be examined jointly with MA3444 in a 3-hour examination in Trinity term, except that those taking just one of the two modules will have a 2 hour examination.