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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 short 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



Mode of instruction

Lectures, problem sessions, weekly homework sets. The course is taught in English.

Course Load

6 EC = 185h

Assessment method

Written exam with open questions. 1 extra point can be earned from homework problems.


Material and communication concerning the course is provided via Blackboard.
To access Blackboard you need your ULCN-account Blackboard UL

Reading list

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


Contactgegevens Docent:Prof.dr.Thomas Schmidt)