MATH 598D / PHYS 517: Statistical Mechanics

Penn State University,   Spring 2002

T R 11:15 AM - 12:30 PM

Course # 958137 (MATH) or # 886068 (PHYS)

Instructor: Andrew Belmonte

Contact info: 302 McAllister Building, telephone: 865-2491, email:

Office hours: Wednesdays 11-12, and by appointment.

Class location: 103 Osmond Lab.

Grader:   Igor Volkov, who can be reached at

Prerequisites:   Advanced calculus, mechanics, general physics; rudiments of theromdynamics and probability. For more information, please contact the instructor.

Web Page:

Course Texts (required):

Supplementary Texts (optional):

* ordered and stocked in the University Bookstore

Updated Course Information:

  Make-up Class II:   Tues 4/23, 8-9 PM   - 115 McAllister Bldg     Lectures     Problem sets  

The Course:

This one semester graduate course provides a detailed introduction to statistical mechanics, one of the most fundamental and successful theories of matter. We will focus on its foundations (ensembles, partition functions, equilibrium, entropy, etc.) and uses in explaining the laws of thermodynamics, phase transitions, and quantum phenomena. Statistical mechanics also serves as a paradigm for statistical approaches to other, more complex systems. We will indicate some of these directions, while covering aspects of nonequilibrium situations.

The basic syllabus for this course will be as follows:

Last modified 8 March 2002, by AB