Course Order For Upper Division

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  • #1
I'm curious if anyone has either shared a similar experience or has input regarding this. I was planning to take Stat Mech my second semester junior year, but heard the prof is AWFUL and unorganized, so I signed up for solid state instead (upon hearing that the solid state prof is awesome). My hope is that someone else teaches Stat Mech next semester (I've been hearing rumors that this might happen). So my questions are...

1.) Was this a wise choice? I realize that Stat Mech is extremely fundamental, and vital information for almost all branches of physics. Also I have all the prereq Quantum knowledge to take Solid State, so that is not an issue.
2.) Has anyone else waited until senior year to take Stat Mech?
 

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  • #2
jtbell
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Does the solid state course list stat mech as a prerequisite, either directly or indirectly (via some other prerequisite that in turn has stat mech as prerequisite)? If not, then you're probably OK. If you want to make sure, you should ask the solid state professor about it.
 
  • #3
Does the solid state course list stat mech as a prerequisite, either directly or indirectly (via some other prerequisite that in turn has stat mech as prerequisite)? If not, then you're probably OK. If you want to make sure, you should ask the solid state professor about it.
It does not have Stat Mech as a prereq. One of my buddies asked the solid state prof about prereq knowledge and he only indicated that basic quantum was necessary.

To be fair though, my school is loose on prereqs. I was a tad worried considering that solid state uses some statistical methods, but I have no idea to what extent the class utilizes them and if the math is covered in class. Best thing to do is ask, as you said.
 
  • #4
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I would not want to take Solid State without stat mech under my belt. It makes me wonder what they are teaching if it is not required. How do you discuss the Fermi surface? How do you go beyond the Drude model?
 
  • #5
I would not want to take Solid State without stat mech under my belt. It makes me wonder what they are teaching if it is not required. How do you discuss the Fermi surface? How do you go beyond the Drude model?

I would have to ask about topics beyond the Druid model, but I know the course follows Kittel and Fermi Surfaces are covered. In most of my classes so far, if a proof requires Stat Mech knowledge it is usually taken for granted and simple used as an axiom (of sorts)

Besides those few select topics, does stat mech knowledge present itself constantly in solid state physics?
 
  • #6
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does stat mech knowledge present itself constantly in solid state physics?
That's the question, and it depends on how the class is taught. Without the syllabus, we have no choice but to be vague.
 
  • #7
That's the question, and it depends on how the class is taught. Without the syllabus, we have no choice but to be vague.
I am going to send an email today to the professor in regards to this question. For now, here is the syllabus used by a different professor, and it is likely to very similar if not the same as the course I will take.

https://tbp.berkeley.edu/syllabi/765/download/

Also slight correction, it seems we are using the Oxford Solid State Physics book.
 
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  • #8
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I personally wouldn't want to take that class without knowing any stat mech.
 
  • #9
I personally wouldn't want to take that class without knowing any stat mech.
I just emailed the professors and he said...

“Looks like you’re all set. 137a should suffice. It would be good if you took some stat mech too as we’ll be covering some of those concepts.”

Where 137A is the first one quantum course. He specified that I may want to review “degrees of freedom,” “temperature,” and “heat capacity.”

Regardless, I do agree with you. My initial instinct is the take stat mech first, I’m just worried about how AWFUL the stat mech professor is. I realize that stat mech a tough and abstract subject, and a bad professor can ruin that experience.

I may still change my schedule, and in the meantime I will seek out as many opinions as I can get.

Are there any other concepts you would suggest reviewing other than the ones he touched on? I do know a decent amount about the topics he mentioned just from lower division courses.
 

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