Department of Physics

Physics 344: Statistical Properties of Matter


The vast majority of systems studied by Physics are fundamentally ensembles of large numbers of particles.  This course focuses on the two areas of Physics that directly address the properties unique to ensembles: Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics.  Starting with the Mechanics that describe individual particles and employing Statistics to extrapolate from the few to the many, Statistical Mechanics builds our understanding of ensembles from first principles. Thermodynamics applies this understanding to describe how ensembles behave and do work in both natural and man-made systems.

Lecture: MWF 11 - 12:20; AHoN 101

Instructor: Eric Hill

Office Hours:  TBA


Text: Thermal Physics, Schroeder, (the text's site is quite good)   errata

Office: AHoN 127

Phone: ext. 8659

This course is an extension, in both directions, of “Unit T” in Phys 233; don’t be lulled by the overlap – it will step back and explore where things came from, and forward to see where they lead.  The two greatest challenges that it poses are the abstractness of the physical quantities that are useful in describing ensembles (for example, entropy, enthalpy, and temperature) and the diversity of conceptual and mathematical tools you’re called to apply, with little warning.

Much of the content on this site is in PDF format. If your computer does not already have it, you will need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader (free software) to view that content.

Please let me know if you discover any problems or have any difficulty with the class web pages.