Statistical thermodynamics

Course description

Statistical thermodynamics is a required course for second-year undergraduates in the FMF physics program. These notes are from the winter semester of the 2019-20 academic year, when the course was taught by professor Primož Ziherl (lecture) and asst. professor Gregor Skačej (exercises). The course covers classical thermodynamics and statistical mechanics at an undergraduate level. Material covered in the course includes

  • thermodynamic variables and equations of state
  • the first and second laws of thermodynamics
  • thermodynamic potentials and Maxwell’s relations
  • phase transitions
  • classical transport phenomena
  • the microcanonical ensemble
  • the canonical ensemble and partition function
  • equations of state and the virial expansion
  • Gibbs and Boltzmann formulations of entropy
  • the quantum canonical ensemble
  • the grand canonical ensemble and grand canonical potential
  • Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein statistics
  • examples: the quantum harmonic oscillator, vibrations of diatomic molecules, the Sommerfeld electron gas in metals, and the Debye approximation for phonon specific heat
  • an introduction to magnetism: paramagnetism, Curie’s law, and the Ising model
  • the kinetic theory of gases