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Syllabus of Statistical Physics

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Course Description

In this course, we will rst introduce the fundamental postulates and concepts in modern statistical physics and establish a connection of these concepts to the concepts in thermo-dynamics. We will also cover some basic tools in quantum statistical mechanics and phase transitions based on Ginzberg-Landau theory and renormalization group theory.

Course Outline

1. Elementary Probability Theory [1 week]
2. Classical Statistical Mechanics 
   (a) Postulates of Classical Statistical Mechanics [1 week]
   (b) Mircocanonical Ensembles, Canonical Ensembles, and Grand Canonical Ensembles [2 weeks]
   (c) Energy, Temperature, and Entropy [1 week]
   (d) Derivation of Thermodynamics [1 week]
3. Quantum Statistical Mechanics [3 weeks]
4. Partition Function, Free Energy, and Gibs Distribution [2 weeks]
5. Approximation Methods [2 weeks]
6. Phase Transitions and Renormalization Group Theory [3 weeks]
7. Stochastic Dynamics and Brownian Motion [2 weeks]



Required Textbook

Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics. Edition (Reif, F., McGraw-Hill, Auckland), 1965.
Statistical Physics. vol. 5 of Berkley Phyiscs Course (Reif, F., McGraw-Hill, New York), 1967.

Other Reading

  • Huang, K., Statistical Mechanics (John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1987), 2nd ed.
  • Kittel, C. & H. Kroemer, Thermal Physics (W. H. Freeman and Company, New York, 1980), 2 ed.
  • Landau, L. D. & E. M. Lifshitz, Statistical Physics (Part 1), vol. 5 of Landau Course of Theoretical Physics (Pergamon Press, New York, 1980), 3rd ed.
  • Plischke, M. & B. Bergersen, Equilibrium Statistical Physics (World Scienti c, Singapore, 1994), 2 ed.
  • Reif, F., Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics (McGraw-Hill, Auckland, 1965).
  • Reif, F., Statistical Physics, vol. 5 of Berkley Physics Course (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1967).
  • Schroeder, D. V., An Introduction to Thermal Physics (Addison Wesley, New York, 1999).


Component Percentage
Homework 60%
Midterm Examination 20%
Final Examination 20%
Copyright 2009, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource. Choi, M., kuocw. (2009, October 28). Syllabus. Retrieved February 01, 2015, from Korea University OpenCourseWare Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License