Spring 2018 - PHYS 445 D100

Statistical Physics (3)

Class Number: 1553

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo, We, Fr 9:30 AM – 10:20 AM
    AQ 5005, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 15, 2018
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    WMC 3210, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    PHYS 344 or CHEM 360, with a minimum grade of C-. Recommended: PHYS 385.



Postulates of statistical mechanics, partition functions, applications to gases, paramagnetism and equilibrium. Quantum statistics and applications. Quantitative.


1.            Introduction: What is statistical mechanics?                   
      Averages, equilibrium, fundamentals of probability

2.            Postulates of statistical mechanics                   
      Microcanonical, canonical, and grand canonical ensembles; partition functions

3.            Example systems:                   
      Ideal classical gases, magnetic systems, harmonic oscillators

4.            Kinetic theory of gases

5.            Ideal quantum gases                   
      Bosons and fermions, photons, phonons, Bose-Einstein condensation

6.            Special topics (time permitting)                   
      Ising model, phase transitions, non-ideal gases


  • Problem sets (~10 assignments) 20%
  • Midterm #1 15%
  • Midterm #2 15%
  • Final exam 50%



Suggested reading: Gould and Tobochnik, Statistical and Thermal Physics: With Computer Applications, ISBN 0691137447

The book is available online  at http://stp.clarku.edu/notes/ in an open-source format, along with extensive computer simulations. 

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Students who cannot write their exam during the course's scheduled exam time must request accommodation from their instructor in writing, clearly stating the reason for this request, before the end of the first week of classes.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html