PHYS 302
Statistical Mechanics & Thermodynamics Spring 2025
Division III Quantitative/Formal Reasoning

Class Details

Macroscopic objects are made up of huge numbers of fundamental particles interacting in simple ways–obeying the Schr├Ádinger equation, Newton’s and Coulomb’s Laws–and these objects can be described by macroscopic properties like temperature, pressure, magnetization, heat capacity, conductivity, etc. In this course we will develop the tools of statistical physics, which will allow us to predict the cooperative phenomena that emerge in large ensembles of interacting particles. We will apply those tools to a wide variety of physical questions, including the behavior of gases, polymers, heat engines, biological and astrophysical systems, magnets, and electrons in solids.
The Class: Format: lecture/laboratory; lecture/discussion three hours per week and weekly laboratory work
Limit: 14 per lab
Expected: 25
Class#: 3585
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: weekly problem sets and labs, plus exams, all of which have a substantial quantitative component
Prerequisites: required: PHYS 201, PHYS/MATH 210 or MATH 309; recommended: PHYS 202, PHYS 301
Enrollment Preferences: physics majors
Distributions: Division III Quantitative/Formal Reasoning
QFR Notes: weekly problem sets, exams, and labs, all of which have a substantial quantitative component

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