Advanced Thermodynamics/Statistical Mechanics I
Phys 727 — Spring 2024 
Department of Physics & Astronomy 
Instructor:  Dr. Kevin Beach 
Office:  206 Lewis Hall 
Email:  kbeach@olemiss.edu 
Website:  https://www.phy.olemiss.edu/~kbeach 
Catalog description
This course covers the theory and applications of the laws of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics from the classical and quantum viewpoints.
3 credit hours
Where and when
Lectures:  T R 11:0012:15 in Lewis Hall Room 104 
Office hours:  by appointment 
Final exam:  Tuesday, May 7 at noon 
Textbook
Essential Statistical Physics, Malcolm Kennett, Cambridge University Press; 1st ed. (2020) 
ISBN 9781108480789 [Cambridge University Press] 
Grading scheme
The course grade will be based on the cumulative points earned from weekly assignments, two inclass tests, and a final exam, weighted as follows.
Assignments:  40% 
Inclass tests:  2 × 15% 
Final exam:  30% 
The numerical score (out of 100) will be converted to a letter grade with a corresponding grade point value, following the UM +/– grading system adopted in Fall 2011. The conversion is carried out by matching to the ranges shown in the table below.
Letter grade  Grade point value  Numerical score range 

A  4.0  ≥ 90 
A–  3.7  [85,90) 
B+  3.3  [80,85) 
B  3.0  [75,80) 
B–  2.7  [70,75) 
C+  2.3  [65,70) 
C  2.0  [60,65) 
C–  1.7  [55,60) 
D  1.0  [50,55) 
F  0  < 50 
Class attendance — Regular attendance is strongly encouraged. Some material presented in lecture may not appear in the textbook.
Assignments — The course puts great emphasis on the development of technical mastery in a variety of important mathematical and computational techniques. Students will be regularly asked to attempt problems, both inside and outside of class hours, alone or in groups. Problems assigned as graded homework will be due in class on the designated due date. Late assignments will be penalized at the rate of 20% per day.
Inclass tests — The tentative test dates are listed in this syllabus. Any changes to the dates will be announced in class and by email; students will be given at least one week’s notice. No makeup test will be given except in cases of verified emergencies.
Topics likely to be covered
Phys 727 will cover key topics in thermodynamics and statistical physics. These include thermodynamic potentials, probability theory, micro and macrostates, the Liouville theorem, statistical ensembles, kinetic theory, ideal classical and quantum gases, and phase transitions. This list comprises almost the entirety (chapters 1–10) of Kennett’s book. We will also devote some time to discrete probabilistic systems, Markov chains, and Monte Carlo methods.
Learning objectives
By the end of the course, students should

understand the concept of thermodynamic equilibrium and be able to describe the conditions and timescales under which it is established;

recognize the unusual, statistical nature of the thermodynamic laws (as opposed to Newton’s laws, say) and explain how quantities such as temperature and pressure emerge in equilibrium in the thermodynamic limit;

be familiar with the Boltzmann, Maxwell, and other important distributions;

be able to construct the relevant partition function for a given problem and connect it to the system’s energy, free energy, entropy, and various thermodynamic potentials;

understand the subleties of whether a system is open or closed, whether it is in contact with a heat or particle reservoir, whether its particles are indistinguishable, and how those considerations govern the choice of ensembles and the counting of microstates;

understand how statistical physics accounts for different phases of matter and the transitions between them;

show mastery of basic computational and statisticalanalysis tasks in Mathematica and Julia.
Schedule
January 22: Snow closure; start of the semester delayed 
January 25: Classes begin 
R  Jan  25  Lecture 1 
T  Jan  30  Lecture 2 
January 31: Students may add courses on a space available basis through this date 
R  Feb  1  Lecture 3 
T  Feb  6  Lecture 4 
February 7: Last day to register or add classes (between January 31 and February 7 may add only with instructor’s approval); last day for course withdrawals with refund 
R  Feb  8  Lecture 5 
T  Feb  13  Lecture 6 
February 15: Automatic drop date for nonattendance 
R  Feb  15  Lecture 7 
T  Feb  20  Lecture 8 
R  Feb  22  Lecture 9 
T  Feb  27  Lecture 10 
R  Feb  29  First inclass test 
T  Mar  5  Lecture 11 
R  Mar  7  Lecture 12 
March 8: Deadline for course withdrawals without refund 
March 917: Spring Break 
T  Mar  19  Lecture 13 
R  Mar  21  Lecture 14 
T  Mar  26  Lecture 15 
R  Mar  28  Lecture 16 
March 29: Good Friday holiday 
T  Apr  2  Lecture 17 
R  Apr  4  Lecture 18 
T  Apr  9  Lecture 19 
R  Apr  11  Second inclass test 
T  Apr  16  Lecture 20 
R  Apr  18  Lecture 21 
T  Apr  23  Lecture 22 
R  Apr  25  Lecture 23 
T  Apr  30  Lecture 24 
R  May  2  Lecture 25 
May 3: Classes end 
R  May  7  Final examination 
Attendance verification
The university requires that all students have a verified attendance at least once during the first two weeks of the semester for each course. Students whose attendance is not verified will be dropped from the course and any financial aid will be adjusted accordingly. Please see http://olemiss.edu/gotoclass for more information.
Academic integrity and honesty
Students are expected to adhere to the University of Mississippi Creed and the Standards of Honesty as described in Policy Code ACA.AR.600.001 and the M Book.
Students are reminded that cheating in any form will not be tolerated. Performance on all tests and assignments shall represent the individual work of the student. Those who violate the Standards of Honesty will be reported and subject to the appropriate sanction, which may include expulsion from the University.
Nondiscrimination policy
The University complies with all applicable laws regarding affirmative action and equal opportunity in all its activities and programs and does not discriminate against anyone protected by law because of age, color, disability, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, handicap, or status as a veteran or disabled veteran.
Policies and procedures for students with disabilities
It is University policy to provide, on a flexible and individual basis, reasonable accommodations to students who have disabilities that may affect their ability to participate in course activities or meet course requirements. Students with disabilities should contact the Office of Student Disability Services (6629157128 or sds@olemiss.edu) to discuss their individual needs.
Examinations and last week of class
Regulations governing all examinations — A student’s failure to appear for an examination without an acceptable excuse, inability to present valid identification, absence from the room during the course of an examination without the consent of the examiner, or attempting any portion of an examination without submitting his or her answers shall result in failure of the examination. Tardiness beyond 15 minutes forfeits a student’s right to an examination.
Final examinations — A final examination, to be given at the time posted in the examination schedule, is required in each undergraduate course, unless the appropriate chair and dean have approved an exception. A student who has three or four final examinations in one day may arrange with the course instructor to take the noon or 7:30 p.m. examination at another time. In order to give a final examination at any time other than that shown in the posted examination schedule, an instructor must have prior approval of the department chair and dean.
Last week of class — The following guidelines exist to allow sufficient time for students and instructors to prepare for final examinations. These guidelines apply to the week preceding final examinations for undergraduate courses held during Fall and Spring semesters.

During the period of Wednesday through Friday of the last week of class, instructors are not to give exams, tests, or quizzes that contribute more than 10% of the final grade for a class.

Exceptions to the above statement are automatically made for labbased courses, technical writing courses, seminar courses that assign a term paper, and senior design courses that assign a multifaceted project in lieu of a final exam. Major projects of the above types, which contribute more than 10% of the final grade and which are due during this Last Week period, should be assigned in the syllabus at the beginning of the semester and any substantial change in the assignment should be made known to students before the drop deadline.
Student support services
The University Counseling Center is a professional facility offered by the University of Mississippi to assist students, faculty, and staff with many types of life stressors that interrupt daytoday functioning, including the stressors associated with the COVID19 pandemic. It offers individual counseling, couples counseling, group counseling, stress management, crisis intervention, assessments and referrals, outreach programs, consultations, and substance abuse services. There is no fee for currently enrolled University students, and anything that students say to a counselor is held in strict confidence. Contact the Counseling Center for information about mental health issues at https://counseling.olemiss.edu, counslg@olemiss.edu, 320 Lester Hall, and https://www.facebook.com/universitycounselingcenterolemiss/. Schedule an appointment or get information about appointments by calling the UCC at 6629153784.
Updated contact information
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