Statistical Mechanics is the physics of systems containing a large number of particles. The main subject is to connect macroscopic observable properties to microscopic properties of matter. The goals of this course are, first, to explain the foundations of statistical mechanics and, second, to work through most of the classic examples of statistical mechanics, as well as some current ones, so that the student develops familiarity and facility with the topic. At the end of the course, the student will be able to tackle the statistical mechanics questions that come up in all areas of experimental and theoretical physics and have a good foundation for further study in statistical physics should she so choose.
The course is basically divided into 3 parts:
The separation of the examples from the presentation of the foundations is intentional. Such a separation would be a poor way to present a first course on thermal physics - the examples are essential to understand the rather abstract concepts involved. But for a second course, this structure is better: the student gets a clearly organized and comprehensive view of the foundations without the distractions of details of particular systems.
The course provides exposure to the following topics:
(Each bullet represents one week.)