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Module MA3443: Statistical Physics I

Credit weighting (ECTS)
5 credits
Semester/term taught
Michaelmas term 2014-15
Prof Dmytro Volin. See for additional information on this module.
Contact Hours
11 weeks, 3 lectures including tutorials per week
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;
  • Entropy;
  • Ideal gas;
  • Inclusion of interactions;
  • Van-der-Waals Gas;
  • The cluster expansion and virial coefficients;
  • Introduction to first order phase transitions;
Suggested Literature
1. Kerson Huang, 'Introduction to Statistical Physics'
2. L.D. Landau, E.M. Lifshitz, 'Statistical Physics'
3. James P. Sethna, 'Statistical Mechanics: Entropy, Order Parameters and Complexity'
4. Lectures of Leonard Susskind on youtube
5. Wikipedia 
Module Prerequisite
MA2342 - Advanced Classical Mechanics II
Assessment Detail
This module will be examined in a 2-hour examination in Trinity term. Two homework assignments will be given. One is devoted to solving exercises, another one is to perform a mini-research and to demonstrate in this way your comprehension of the subject. The assignments contribute 25% to the final annual mark. Supplemental exam if required will consist of 100% exam.