Thermal and Statistical PhysicsAuthor: Prof. Carlson
19 Oct 2017

Thermal and Statistical Physics

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Physics 416
Thermal and Statistical Physics
Purdue University

Textbook: Thermal Physics by Kittel and Kroemer

Lectures follow the text fairly closely, so if you're joining us from iTunes, you might enjoy having a copy handy.

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    Lecture 4: Partition Function and Thermodynamic Identity

    Boltzmann Factor, Partition Function and how to calculate everything else from it.
    Live near lakes because they have a high heat capacity. Energy and Heat Capacity of a two state system, Definition of a reversible process, Definition of pressure, The Thermodynamic Identity, Thermodynamically Conjugate variables.
    Digressions: Is toasting bread a reversible process? Do microwaves get water hotter than other heating methods?

    Lecture 4 Audio

  • Posted on 10 Sep 2007

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    Lecture 5: Free Energy and Maxwell Relations

    Helmholtz Free Energy is the right energy to use when temperature and volume are used as control variables. Free Energy and the Partition Function. Maxwell Relations -- you can derive them all. Legendre Transforms. Ideal Gas. Quantum Concentration.
    Why some slow processes are still irreversible, as with toast and frogs.


    Lecture Audio

  • Posted on 10 Sep 2007

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    Lecture 6: Ideal Gas Law, Planck Blackbody Radiation

    Deriving the ideal gas law. Equipartition Theorem. Entropy of Mixing.
    Hot things glow -- or how night vision goggles work (Planck blackbody radiation). Analyzing star spectra. Class discussions: Mixing 2 colors of Kool-Aid, and how to make heavy Kool-Aid out of deuterated water. Why deuterated water can extend the snow skiing season, but is unfortunately toxic.

    Lecture Audio

  • Posted on 10 Sep 2007

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    Lecture 2: Multiplicity Function

    Why is the most probable configuration important?
    Multiplicity Function is a gaussian in the two-state system.
    Weighted averages. Introduction to partition function.

    Lecture 2 Audio

  • Posted on 10 Sep 2007

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    New Course: Solid State Physics

    Prof. Carlson is teaching a new course this semester, entitled Solid State Physics.
    Here is a taste of the new course, which has a separate podcast in iTunes. Search podcasts for Carlson to find the new one, which hopefully will appear in the directory structure of iTunes soon.

    Lecture 1 of Solid State Physics: The Failure of Reductionism

    Reductionism is the idea that by breaking things into their smallest constituents, we will learn all about them. For example, we might want to learn about solids by breaking them into atoms, then learn about the atoms by breaking them into the constituent electrons and nuclei, and so on. But reductionism is merely a philosophy handed down to us by the Greeks -- is it really correct? New ideas in the field point toward the inadequacy of reductionism, and lead to "emergence" as a better paradigm for gaining knowledge in condensed matter/solid state physics. Emergence is the idea that when many particles get together, new phenomena appear which are not encoded in the microscopic laws, and in fact are independent of the microscopic laws. For example, all solids are hard, regardless of what atoms are in them. Likewise, if we changed the microscopic laws, by changing, say, the shape of the Coulomb potential, we'd still get solids that are hard. That means hardness, and many properties like it, is not caused by the underlying microscopic laws, but rather is caused by deeper physics. It turns out in fact that it's related to symmetry.
    Also, find out the difference between correct and useful.

    Solid State Physics Lecture Blog

  • Posted on 21 Aug 2007

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