School Physics & Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh Top

MP4/P4 Statistical Physics


The syllabus , contains information an outline syllabus and recommended texts Lecture notes, tutorials, handouts, etc are available in two formats:

Lecture Notes

Any errors in the lecture notes (should!) have been corrected in these online versions. The notes do not contain figures.


2006/7 was the first year that I lectured this course. It broadly follows the path that the previous course took, therefore most old exam questions should still be relevant.
I will distribute written notes, available here electronically or from me in hard copy, after the lecture has taken place. Students are encouraged to take notes in the lectures.

Section   1: ( PostScript , PDF )   Information Theory Approach to Statistical Mechanics
Section   2: ( PostScript , PDF )   Assignment of probabilities and Formulation of Statistical Mechanics
Section   3: ( PostScript , PDF )   Fluctuations and Response
Section   4: ( PostScript , PDF )   Assemblies of Weakly Interacting Constituents
Section   5: ( PostScript , PDF )   Bose Einstein Condensation
Section   6: ( PostScript , PDF )   The Many-Body Problem
Section   7: ( PostScript , PDF )   Interactions in Classical Fluids: Perturbation about the Ideal Gas
Section   8: ( PostScript , PDF )   Reduced Distribution Functions and Dense Fluids
Section   9: ( PostScript , PDF )   Phase Transitions and the Ising Model
Section   10: ( PostScript , PDF )   Mean-Field Theory of the Ising Model
Section   11: ( PostScript , PDF )   Exact results for the Ising Model
Section   12: ( PostScript , PDF )   Landau Theory of Phase Transitions
Section   13: ( PostScript , PDF )   Classical Dynamics and the Arrow of Time
Section   14: ( PostScript , PDF )   Quantum Dynamics, The Master Equation and Detailed Balance
Section   15: ( PostScript , PDF )   The Langevin Approach and the Dynamics of Fluctuations

Tutorial Sheets

Tutorial 1: ( PostScript , PDF )   Maximising the Missing Information
Tutorial 2: ( PostScript , PDF )   The Microcanonical, Canonical and Grand Canonical Distrutions
Tutorial 3: ( PostScript , PDF )   Quantum Statistical Mechanics
Tutorial 4: ( PostScript , PDF )   Phonons; Virial Expansion
Tutorial 5: ( PostScript , PDF )   Radial distribution function; Debye-Hueckel Theory
Tutorial 6: ( PostScript , PDF )   The Ising Model
Tutorial 7: ( PostScript , PDF )   Landau Theory, Universality
Tutorial 8: ( PostScript , PDF )   Classical Dynamics, Time's Arrow, Stochastic Dynamics

Other interesting reading

Here's the original article on the information theory approach to statistical mechanics that we develop PDF also some lecture notes PDF ,
(but note some of the physics is discussed within the density matrix formulation which we don't cover)

Nice pedagogical article on Legendre transforms to appear in American Journal of Physics PDF ,
Nice pedagogical article on Boltzmann's Entropy and Time's Arrow Physics Today September 1993 p.32 PDF ,
Review of some general ideas behind phase transitions and mean field theory PDF ,
For queries about this page contact: Martin Evans
Last updated on 12/10/2009 at 14.00
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