Physics for future Presidents



Our 2020 textbook:

I will again be using the textbook "An Introduction to Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics" by Robert H. Swendsen, but this has now come out in a second edition. Unfortunately, the book will not yet be available for sale until probably February so we will have to start with the first edition. But do not fret, there's a plan:

First, the two editions are similar enough so that transitioning is smooth. And you can even stick with the first edition for the entire semester. Moreover, there is no need to buy the first edition (cover image: see left), since as a CMU student you have free online access to the book via this link:

Swendsen book online, first edition.

If you wish to buy the phyical book (you know, the hard copy version, printed on real paper!) then I recommend to wait for the second edition, which as the following data (and a cover that looks like the image on the right):

An Introduction to Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics
Oxford University Press, 2 edition (February 10, 2020)
ISBN-13: 978-0198853237
Robert H. Swendsen

Both editions of the textbook present the two complementary aspects of thermal physics as an integrated theory of the properties of matter. Conceptual understanding is promoted by thorough development of basic concepts. In contrast to many texts, statistical mechanics, including discussion of the required probability theory, is presented first. This provides a statistical foundation for the concept of entropy, which is central to thermal physics. A unique feature of the book is the development of entropy based on Boltzmann's 1877 definition; this avoids contradictions or ad hoc corrections found in other texts. Detailed fundamentals provide a natural grounding for advanced topics, such as black-body radiation and quantum gases.


Table of Contents (The first edition from 2012)


1. Introduction
  Part I: Entropy
2. The Classical Ideal Gas
3. Discrete Probability Theory
4. The Classical Ideal Gas: Configurational Entropy
5. Continuous Random Numbers
6. The Classical Ideal Gas: Energy Dependence of Entropy
7. Classical Gases: Ideal and Otherwise
8. Temperature, Pressure, Chemical Potential, and All That
  Part II: Thermodynamics
9. The Postulates and Laws of Thermodynamics
10. Perturbations of Thermodynamic State Functions
11. Thermodynamic Processes
12. Thermodynamic Potentials
13. The Consequences of Extensivity
14. Thermodynamic Identities
15. Extremum Principles
16. Stability Conditions
17. Phase Transitions
18. The Nernst Postulate: The Third Law of Thermodynamics
  Part III: Classical Statistical Mechanics
19. Ensembles in Classical Statistical Mechanics
20. Classical Ensembles: Grand and Otherwise
21. Irreversibility
  Part IV: Quantum Statistical Mechanics
22. Quantum Ensembles
23. Quantum Canonical Ensemble
24. Black-Body Radiation
25. The Harmonic Solid
26. Ideal Quantum Gases
27. Bose-Einstein Statistics
28. Fermi-Dirac Statistics
29. Insulators and Semiconductors
30. Phase Transitions and the Ising Model



Richard Muller

Robert Swendsen, author of our Textbook. Not the lecturer, I'm afraid.
You have to do with Deserno.