Statistical and Thermal Physics: With Computer Applications

Princeton University Press
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This textbook carefully develops the main ideas and techniques of statistical and thermal physics and is intended for upper-level undergraduate courses. The authors each have more than thirty years' experience in teaching, curriculum development, and research in statistical and computational physics.

Statistical and Thermal Physics begins with a qualitative discussion of the relation between the macroscopic and microscopic worlds and incorporates computer simulations throughout the book to provide concrete examples of important conceptual ideas. Unlike many contemporary texts on thermal physics, this book presents thermodynamic reasoning as an independent way of thinking about macroscopic systems. Probability concepts and techniques are introduced, including topics that are useful for understanding how probability and statistics are used. Magnetism and the Ising model are considered in greater depth than in most undergraduate texts, and ideal quantum gases are treated within a uniform framework. Advanced chapters on fluids and critical phenomena are appropriate for motivated undergraduates and beginning graduate students.


  • Integrates Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics simulations as well as other numerical techniques throughout the text

  • Provides self-contained introductions to thermodynamics and statistical mechanics

  • Discusses probability concepts and methods in detail

  • Contains ideas and methods from contemporary research

  • Includes advanced chapters that provide a natural bridge to graduate study

  • Features more than 400 problems

  • Programs are open source and available in an executable cross-platform format

  • Solutions manual (available only to teachers)

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About the author

Harvey Gould is Professor of Physics at Clark University and Associate Editor of the American Journal of Physics. Jan Tobochnik is the Dow Distinguished Professor of Natural Science at Kalamazoo College and Editor of the American Journal of Physics. They are the coauthors, with Wolfgang Christian, of An Introduction to Computer Simulation Methods: Applications to Physical Systems.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jul 1, 2010
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Pages
552
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ISBN
9781400837038
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / Mechanics / Statics
Science / Mechanics / Thermodynamics
Science / Physics / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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All macroscopic systems consist ultimately of atoms obeying the laws of quantum mechanics. That premise forms the basis for this comprehensive text, intended for a first upper-level course in statistical and thermal physics. Reif emphasizes that the combination of microscopic concepts with some statistical postulates leads readily to conclusions on a purely macroscopic level. The authors writing style and penchant for description energize interest in condensed matter physics as well as provide a conceptual grounding with information that is crystal clear and memorable.

Reif first introduces basic probability concepts and statistical methods used throughout all of physics. Statistical ideas are then applied to systems of particles in equilibrium to enhance an understanding of the basic notions of statistical mechanics, from which derive the purely macroscopic general statements of thermodynamics. Next, he turns to the more complicated equilibrium situations, such as phase transformations and quantum gases, before discussing nonequilibrium situations in which he treats transport theory and dilute gases at varying levels of sophistication. In the last chapter, he addresses some general questions involving irreversible processes and fluctuations.

A large amount of material is presented to facilitate students later access to more advanced works, to allow those with higher levels of curiosity to read beyond the minimum given on a topic, and to enhance understanding by presenting several ways of looking at a particular question. Formatting within the text either signals material that instructors can assign at their own discretion or highlights important results for easy reference to them. Additionally, by solving many of the 230 problems contained in the text, students activate and embed their knowledge of the subject matter.
"A large number of exercises of a broad range of difficulty make this book even more useful…a good addition to the literature on thermodynamics at the undergraduate level." — Philosophical Magazine
Although written on an introductory level, this wide-ranging text provides extensive coverage of topics of current interest in equilibrium statistical mechanics. Indeed, certain traditional topics are given somewhat condensed treatment to allow room for a survey of more recent advances.
The book is divided into four major sections. Part I deals with the principles of quantum statistical mechanics and includes discussions of energy levels, states and eigenfunctions, degeneracy and other topics. Part II examines systems composed of independent molecules or of other independent subsystems. Topics range from ideal monatomic gas and monatomic crystals to polyatomic gas and configuration of polymer molecules and rubber elasticity. An examination of systems of interacting molecules comprises the nine chapters in Part Ill, reviewing such subjects as lattice statistics, imperfect gases and dilute liquid solutions. Part IV covers quantum statistics and includes sections on Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein statistics, photon gas and free-volume theories of quantum liquids.
Each chapter includes problems varying in difficulty — ranging from simple numerical exercises to small-scale "research" propositions. In addition, supplementary reading lists for each chapter invite students to pursue the subject at a more advanced level. Readers are assumed to have studied thermodynamics, calculus, elementary differential equations and elementary quantum mechanics.
Because of the flexibility of the chapter arrangements, this book especially lends itself to use in a one-or two-semester graduate course in chemistry, a one-semester senior or graduate course in physics or an introductory course in statistical mechanics.
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