**an introduction to statistical mechanics and thermodynamics pdf**

**an introduction to statistical mechanics and thermodynamics pdf**

The disciplines of statistical mechanics and thermodynamics are very closely related, although their historical roots are separate. The founders of thermodynamics developed their theories without the advantage of contemporary understanding of the atomic structure of matter. Statistical mechanics, which is built on this understanding, makes predictions of system behavior that lead to thermodynamic rules. In other words, statistical mechanics is a conceptual precursor to thermodynamics, although it is an historical latecomer.

Unfortunately, despite their theoretical connection, statistical mechanics and thermodynamics are often taught as separate fields of study. Even worse, thermodynamics

is usually taught first, for the dubious reason that it is older than statistical mechanics.

All too often the result is that students regard thermodynamics as a set of highly

abstract mathematical relationships, the significance of which is not clear.

This book is an effort to rectify the situation. It presents the two complementary

aspects of thermal physics as a coherent theory of the properties of matter. My

intention is that after working through this text a student will have solid foundations

in both statistical mechanics and thermodynamics that will provide direct access to

modern research.

**Guiding Principles**

In writing this book I have been guided by a number of principles, only some of which

are shared by other textbooks in statistical mechanics and thermodynamics.

• I have written this book for students, not professors. Many things that experts

might take for granted are explained explicitly. Indeed, student contributions have

been essential in constructing clear explanations that do not leave out ‘obvious’

steps that can be puzzling to someone new to this material.

• The goal of the book is to provide the student with conceptual understanding, and

the problems are designed in the service of this goal. They are quite challenging,

but the challenges are primarily conceptual rather than algebraic or computational.

• I believe that students should have the opportunity to program models themselves

and observe how the models behave under different conditions. Therefore, the

problems include extensive use of computation.

• The book is intended to be accessible to students at different levels of preparation.

I do not make a distinction between teaching the material at the advanced

undergraduate and graduate levels, and indeed, I have taught such a course many

times using the same approach and much of the same material for both groups. As

the mathematics is entirely self-contained, students can master all of the material

even if their mathematical preparation has some gaps. Graduate students with

previous courses on these topics should be able to use the book with self-study

to make up for any gaps in their training.

• After working through this text, a student should be well prepared to continue with more specialized topics in thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and condensed-matter physics.