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Statistical Physics 1


Admission requirements

Classical Mechanics a, Electromagnetic Fields, Analysis 1&2, Linear Algebra 1


Statistical Physics builds a bridge between the microscopic world of, for instance, atoms and molecules and the resulting collective behavior at the macroscopic level, that is described by thermodynamics, The concept of temperature and the fact that a very large number of particles is involved play crucial roles in making this work. Using probability theory and the Gibbs theory of ensembles the statistical physics of systems in equilibrium is developed and applied to gases and other examples, such as rubber and magnetic systems.

Course objectives

After finishing the course you are able to perform calculations and derivations concerning the following topics in statistical physics:

  • Statistical ensembles, phase space

  • Classical and quantum partition functions and thermodynamic potentials

  • Thermal equilibrium

  • Entropy, temperature, microcanonical ensemble

  • Free energy, canonical ensemble

  • Gibbs free energy, grand canonical ensemble

  • Maxwell relations, heat capacity

  • Ideal Boson and Fermion gases of particles with and without mass

  • Elasticity of rubber, magnetisation and susceptibility, physical adsorption


For detailed information go to Timetable in Brightspace

Mode of instruction

Lectures and self-study of written material, mandatory tutorial sessions, weekly homework sets. The course is taught in English.
See Brightspace

Assessment method

6 EC = 168h
Written exam with open questions. 1 extra point can be earned from homework problems.


Material and communication concerning the course is provided via Bightspace.
Registration for Brightspace occurs via uSis by registration for a class activity using a class number

Reading list

R.H. Swendsen, 'An Introduction to Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics', Oxford University Press.


Lecturer:Dr.S. Semrau