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Classical Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics by Frederick Reif

  1. Strongly Recommend

  2. Lightly Recommend

  3. Lightly don't Recommend

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  4. Strongly don't Recommend

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  1. Jan 19, 2013 #1

    Table of Contents:

    Code (Text):
    1. Introduction to Statistical Methods
    Random Walk and Binomial Distribution / General Discussion of the Random Walk

    2. Statistical Description of Systems of Particles
    Statistical Formulation of the Mechanical Problem / Interaction between Macroscopic Systems

    3. Statistical Thermodynamics
    Irreversibility and the Attainment of Equilibrium / Thermal Interaction between Macroscopic Systems / General Interaction between Macroscopic Systems / Summary of Fundamental Results

    4. Macroscopic Parameters and Their Measurement

    5. Simple Applications of Macroscopic Thermodynamics
    Properties of Ideal Gases / General Relations for a Homogeneous Substance / Free Expansion and Throttling Processes / Heat Engines and Refrigerators

    6. Basic Methods and Results of Statistical Mechanics
    Ensembles Representative of Situations of Physical Interest / Approximation Methods / Generalizations and Alternative Approaches

    7. Simple Applications of Statistical Mechanics
    General Method of Approach / Ideal Monatomic Gas / The Equipartition Theorem / Paramagnetism / Kinetic Theory of Dilute Gases in Equilibrium

    8. Equilibrium between Phases or Chemical Species
    General Equilibrium Conditions / Equilibrium between Phases / Systems with Several Components; Chemical Equilibrium

    9. Quantum Statistics of Ideal Gases
    Maxwell-Boltzmann, Bose-Einstein, and Fermi-Dirac Statistics / Ideal Gas in the Classical Limit / Black-Body Radiation / Conduction Electrons in Metals

    10. Systems of Interacting Particles
    Solids / Nonideal Classical Gas / Ferromagnetism

    11. Magnetism and Low Temperatures

    12. Elementary Kinetic Theory of Transport Processes

    13. Transport Theory Using the Relaxation Time Approximation

    14. Near-Exact Formulation of Transport Theory

    15. Irreversible Processes and Fluctuations
    Transition Probabilities and Master Equation / Simple Discussion of Brownian Motion / Detailed Analysis of Brownian Motion / Calculation of Probability Distributions / Fourier Analysis of Random Functions / General Discussion of Irreversible Processes

    Last edited: May 6, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 20, 2013 #2

    Dr Transport

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    If you know this book, you should have the basics of Stat Mech down, It doesn't do anything with regards to modern techniques (Field Theory), but still a very well written book.
  4. Jan 22, 2013 #3
    Great book. I would have strongly recommended this except that I felt there were some organizational issues I had with the book. Mainly, I remember a number of times where he would put a reference to a formula three chapters back, and after a minute of searching for it, the equation would turn out to be something like [itex]E_{tot}=E_1+E_2[/itex]. Great book, but I'd love a slightly better edited copy. (Yes, I'm being sort of nitpicky, but Stat Mech is a rough enough subject)
  5. Jan 26, 2013 #4


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    I have to admit, I didn't care for this book when I took stat mech as an undergrad. I remember trying to read it, and it seemed like Reif took a long time to get to the point.
  6. Jan 26, 2013 #5
    This is how I feel book. It's a 'fine' book, but not exceptional.
  7. Jan 26, 2013 #6


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    I self-taught myself classical stat mech and some kinetic theory from this book. The fact that it was so wordy was fine, since I didn't have a professor to guide me and I learned a lot from the text. I did have to take notes, and ended up making a several page list of important definitions and equations to help me wade through the later chapters. This was necessary since the book isn't made to easily find things in, as noted by other reviewers. Many of the problems are interesting, and I had fun working them out. Some of the early chapters probably had too few problems, though. Most were do-able for me, but a few left me stumped. A number of years later I ran across the book by Schroeder, which I think would have been better for the basic stat mech (but covers no kinetic theory); it seems to make things clear and concise and is much easier to read.

    Overall I enjoyed the book, but if this is your first exposure to stat mech I recommend Schroeder over Reif (Schroeder is cheaper, too!). Others may know of even easier books.

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