Physics 6351 Spring 2011

Course Syllabus

Prof. Sethna claims his hard-working first-yr Cornell students finish the entire
text in one semester.  I believe you can do that, but I'm not sure about me;
we'll give it a try.  I'll attempt to follow the text closely, with supplements
from our other references.

Course objectives

Students will be able to state the fundamental postulate of statistical 
mechanics and apply it to macroscopic systems.  In particular, they
will be able to state the definition of entropy, and apply it to
derive macroscopic parameters such as temperature and pressure for
various systems, such as ideal gases and spin systems.  They will
be able to derive and apply the Boltzmann distribution to a variety
of systems.  Students will demonstrate their understanding by completing 
assigned problems and discussing them intelligibly in our problem sessions.

Chapter      Topic                             Approx. number lectures

Ch 1&2   Intro; Random walk and Emergent Properties     4

Ch 3     Temperature and equilibrium                    3.5

Ch 4     Phase Space and Ergodicity                     1.5
Ch 5     Entropy                                        2.5
Ch 6     Free Energies/Classical Thermodynamics         5.5
Ch 7     Quantum Stat Mech                              5.5
Ch 8     Calculations/Monte Carlo Methods               2.5

Ch 9     Order Parameters                               3.5

Ch 10    Correlations                                   7.5

Ch 11    Abrupt Phase Transitions                       3.5

Ch 12    Continuous Phase Transitions                   2.5

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