Fall 2017

Physics 528: Statistical Mechanics


    The statistical foundations of thermodynamics. Micro-canonical, canonical, and grand canonical ensembles. Quantum statistics. Ideal Bose and Fermi systems. Fluctuations and linear-response theory. Phase transitions and critical phenomena.

    Each student must investigate an advanced topic in statistical mechanics to be agreed upon with the instructor, and present their findings in a 15-minute oral presentation.

    Extra credit problems due 4pm Wednesday November 22 (worth 15 exam points).

    Thanksgiving week office hours: Tuesday 2-4pm.

    Homework (due in blue box outside PAS 224):
    HW1 due 4pm Friday Sept. 1
    HW2 due 4pm Friday Sept. 8
    HW3 due 9am Monday Sept. 18 (deadline extended)
    HW4 due 4pm Friday Sept. 22
    HW5 due 4pm Monday Oct. 9 (deadline extended)
    HW6 due 4pm Friday Oct. 27 (deadline extended)
    HW7 due 4pm Monday Nov. 13 (deadline extended)
    HW8 due 4pm Monday Nov. 27

    Textbook Statistical Mechanics and Applications in Condensed Matter available on amazon.com and at UA Bookstore.

    Course information
    Schedule of topics, reading, and exams

    Office hours: Thursday 2-4pm, or contact me

    HW1 HW2 HW3 HW4 HW5 HW6 HW7
    Midterm 1 Midterm 2

    Grades available on d2l

    Lecture notes:
    Lec 1: The Laws of Thermodynamics
    Lec 2: Statistical basis of thermodynamics
    Lec 3: Classical ideal gas
    Lec 4: Introduction to ensemble theory
    Lec 5: Micro-canonical ensemble
    Lec 6: Canonical ensemble
    Lec 7: Canonical ensemble II
    Lec 8: Paramagnetism
    Lec 9: Grand canonical ensemble
    Lec 10: The density matrix
    Lec 11: Quantum statistics (cont.)
    Lec 12: Reduced density matrix
    Lec 13: Quantum many-particle systems
    Lec 14: Quantum ideal gas
    Lec 15: Fermi gas
    Lec 16: Fermi gas II
    Lec 17: Ideal Bose gas
    Lec 18: Photons and phonons
    Lec. 19: Quantum theory of a harmonic crystal
    Lec. 20: Fluctuations in a 1D harmonic system
    Lec. 21: Superconductivity I: Meissner effect
    Lec. 22: Superconductivity II: Ginzburg-Landau theory
    Lec. 23: Electrical noise in a resistor
    Lec. 24: Thermoelectric effects and linear response theory

    Additional references:
    David Tong, Lectures on Statistical Physics (Cambridge University, 2012)

    Information: From Maxwell's demon to Landauer's eraser, Physics Today (September 2015).

    Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics at Negative Absolute Temperatures, Norman F. Ramsey, Phys. Rev. 103, 20 (1956).

    Topological Phase Transitions and Topological Phases of Matter Nobel Prize in Physics (2016).

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