University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Phys 5201.001

Thermal and Statistical Physics

modified 20-Aug-2018 at 1:14PM by Joseph Kapusta

This is a graduate level course on Thermal and Statistical Physics. Prerequisites include knowledge of classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, and thermal and statistical physics at the undergraduate level. Topics to be covered are taken from the official course catalog. They include:

Equilibrium Statistical Mechanics. General Principles of Statistical Mechanics: Ensembles. Derivation of Thermodynamics from statistical principles. Classical Systems. Quantum Statistical Mechanics: Fundamentals. Photons. Ideal Fermi & Bose Gases. Non-ideal gases. Introduction to Phase Transitions.

The textbook is "Statistical Mechanics", 2nd edition, by F. Schwabl, Springer. It can be purchased as a hardback or paperback, but it is also available electronically through the University of Minnesota library using an X500 account. There are many other excellent textbooks on this subject at the graduate level which may be used as additional references.

There will be weekly homework assignments, two quizzes, and a final exam. Each quiz contributes 15% to the final grade, the homework contributes 40% to the final grade, and the final exam contributes 30%. Homework will be due one week after it is assigned. A deduction of 10% will be assessed for every day that the homework is late. The rational is to keep all students up to date in the course and to be fair to the grader. Students are expected to attend every lecture.

Quiz I - Friday October 12 11:15 am to 12:05 pm
Quiz II - Friday November 16 11:15 am to 12:05 pm
Final Exam - Tuesday December 18, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm, in room TBD

Students are allowed to use any notes taken during lectures in their own handwriting during the quizzes and final exam.

Students are allowed, and encouraged, to collaborate on solving homework problems. However, every student should do their best to solve the problems before discussing them with his or her peers. The goal is to develop the mind; it is not to just get the right answer. You should write the names of other students you collaborated with on solving each problem. This is academic honesty - no points will be deducted for doing it. Points will be deducted if you do not cite your collaborators.

If, in the course of solving a homework problem, you come across a solution you found in a book, online, or somewhere else, and you make use of it in any way, you should cite that reference. Otherwise it will be considered plagiarism.

Grades will be assigned as follows (these are guaranteed, the cutoffs may turn out to be lower):

A: 90 to 100%
B: 80 to 90%
C: 70 to 80%
D: 50 to 70%
F: 0 to 50%

Lecture notes will be posted on this web page.