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Behind on my understanding of thermodynamics/statistical mechanics

  1. Aug 8, 2014 #1
    I am a physics graduate student, and feel a bit behind in my understanding of statistical mechanics. I will be taking that course in the upcoming semester, and feel unprepared for the course. Right now, I'd say my understanding of thermodynamics is about at the level of the Feynman lectures. Could anyone tell me what a decent book is to bridge the gap between that and Huang or Pathira, or Kadanoff?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 8, 2014 #2


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    A very good book is volume 5 of Landau/Lifshits. More advanced techniques are presented in vol. IX (non-relatistic QFT/Green's-function methods in equilibrium) and X (kinetic/transport equations, non-equilibrium non-relativistic Keldysh formalism). Another standard source is

    Reif, Fundamentals of statistical and thermal physics

    For my taste it's tending to be lengthy and repetitive in its explanations. On the other hand it's sometimes good to have more than one treatment of the same topics.

    A more modern treatment is

    M. LeBellac et al, Equilibrium and non-equilibrium statistical thermodynamics

    Another perspective is provided by books using the information-theoretical approach, which I find very convincing. Two good books using this approach are

    A. Katz, Principles of statistical mechanics
    A. Hobson, Concepts in statistical mechanics
  4. Aug 8, 2014 #3


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    Reif "Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics", it's one of the best physics textbooks I've ever had the pleasure of working through and it's the perfect bridge to Pathria (which is what I'm working through currently).
  5. Aug 20, 2014 #4
    Thank you for your responses. Reif just came in, and it looks quite good.

    I was wondering if anyone has checked out Susskind's online lecture on statistical mechanics, and whether or not that would be sufficient to move on to the graduate texts?
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