Statistical and Thermal Physics: An Introduction

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9781439850534: Statistical and Thermal Physics: An Introduction

Concepts and relationships in thermal and statistical physics form the foundation for describing systems consisting of macroscopically large numbers of particles. Developing microscopic statistical physics and macroscopic classical thermodynamic descriptions in tandem, Statistical and Thermal Physics: An Introduction provides insight into basic concepts at an advanced undergraduate level. Highly detailed and profoundly thorough, this comprehensive introduction includes exercises within the text as well as end-of-chapter problems.

The first section of the book covers the basics of equilibrium thermodynamics and introduces the concepts of temperature, internal energy, and entropy using ideal gases and ideal paramagnets as models. The chemical potential is defined and the three thermodynamic potentials are discussed with use of Legendre transforms. The second section presents a complementary microscopic approach to entropy and temperature, with the general expression for entropy given in terms of the number of accessible microstates in the fixed energy, microcanonical ensemble. The third section emphasizes the power of thermodynamics in the description of processes in gases and condensed matter. Phase transitions and critical phenomena are discussed phenomenologically.

In the second half of the text, the fourth section briefly introduces probability theory and mean values and compares three statistical ensembles. With a focus on quantum statistics, the fifth section reviews the quantum distribution functions. Ideal Fermi and Bose gases are considered in separate chapters, followed by a discussion of the "Planck" gas for photons and phonons. The sixth section deals with ideal classical gases and explores nonideal gases and spin systems using various approximations. The final section covers special topics, specifically the density matrix, chemical reactions, and irreversible thermodynamics.

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About the Author:

Michael J.R. Hoch is a visiting scientist in the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Florida State University and an emeritus professor and honorary professorial research fellow at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Review:

"When I started reading Michael J.R. Hoch’s book Statistical and Thermal Physics: An Introduction I thought to myself that this is another book the same as a large group of others with similar content. ... But during my reading this unjustified belief changed. ... The main reason for this change was the way of information presentation: ... the way of presentation is designed so that the reader receives only the information that is necessary to give the essence of the problem. ... this book will provide an introduction to the subject especially for those who are interested in basic or applied physics. ... very well-written."
?Dominik Strzalka, Zentralblatt MATH 1230

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