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How do you get good at statistical physics?

  1. Dec 10, 2009 #1
    Hello there, I'm a second year physics student who like most, has exams around the start of the next year and as such, have started revising for my exams.

    The term has introduced new physics I wasn't initially familiar with such as Quantum mechanics and advanced differential calculus.

    Another subject was statistical mechanics and so far I'm completely dumbfounded with this subject.

    Typically, the process of performing well in exams is to attend lectures, do the homework and study. Statistical mechanics is the first subject I've encountered which I'm starting to deem "unstudy-able".

    The book for the course is "Statistical Mechanics" by "Kerson Huang". The lecturer warned me the book was "very difficult" which after downloading an entire series of SP books seems to be a running trend. This is also coupled with the frustration of having a textbook which costs upwards of around £100 - ignoring the fact you can pirate it.

    Also, from what I've seen, there are no online resources i've found which are incapable of alienating a novice readership such as myself.

    So, unless there's a book which is as useful and easy to read as "Quantum Mechanics Demystified" for example, how exactly does one get good at Statistical physics?

    Thank you

    ps: what's up with textbooks not providing answers to the problem sets anyway?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 10, 2009 #2


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    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  4. Dec 11, 2009 #3
    Thank you for the reply. I'll give these a read over christmas and see how things go.

    I'll still check this thread to see if somebody else can contribute.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  5. Dec 11, 2009 #4
    The answer to your question is rather bland but true. You get good at thermodynamics the same way you get good at anything else in life: you practice like there's no tomorrow. You read about it as much as you can, solve as many problems as you can, and ask as many questions as you can to people who already know the subject. Follow that basic method and nothing is unachievable, unless the laws of physics explicitly prevent its achievement!
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