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Statistical Mechanics with worked examples

  1. Sep 30, 2013 #1
    I'm taking Stat Mech at the graduate level and I find the course incredibly frustrating in that it just feels like a whole lot of mathematical formalism without any examples. I've looked in Paritha, Huang, and Salinas and all these books seem the same in that they just looks like a bunch of definitions for the various ensembles, and it's not clear how any of it connects to the problems. Ensemble theory just seems pointless since I've never seen a treatment that demonstrates how it can be used to make calculations.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 30, 2013 #2
    Here are some examples:
    1) In some cases the partition function can be used to explicitly calculate a chemical reactions equilibrium constant.
    2) Einstein and Debye Theory of crystals are statistical in nature.
    3) Phonons
    4) The thermodynamics of an ideal monotomic and diatomic can be explicitly calculated.
    5) The thermodynamics of a polyatomic can be treated well.
    6) The Theory of imperfect gases/Kinetic Theory of gases.
    7) Classical liquid theory (radial distribution functions) and perturbation theory.
    8) Phase transitions (renormalization group!!!!!)
    9) Conduction of electrons in metals.

    10) Computational biophysics uses classical stat mech. Molecular dynamics, monte carlo simulations, etc. The formalism of classical stat mech allows us to trust our calculations (reasonably so) but admittedly the practical calculations are very different.
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