1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Suggestion on books for Thermal Physics and Statistical Mechanics

  1. Nov 7, 2013 #1
    I am planing to study thermal physics on my own as I got an incompetent faculty who doesn't know anything about this subject. I want to have a detailed understanding about the topic. So can somebody suggest me which book I should follow from the following list.

    1. Schroeder, Thermal physics

    2. Kittel & Kromer's Thermal Physics

    3. Seddon and Gale's Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics

    4. An Introduction to Thermal Physics by Daniel V. Schroeder

    5. Statistical Physics by Franz Mandl

    6. Thermodynamics: Foundations and Applications by Elias P. Gyftopoulos (Author), Gian Paolo Beretta (Author)

    7. Statistical Physics: Berkeley Physics Course by F. Reif

    8. Concepts of Thermal Physics by Blundell and Blundell.

    9. Stowe's An Introduction to Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics

    10. Thermal Physics by Ralph Baierlein

    11. Introduction to Statistical Thermodynamics by Terrell Hill

    12. Statistical Physics (Manchester Physics Series) by F. Mandl, John Wiley and Sons Ltd
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 7, 2013 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

    I don't know at which level you want to study thermodynamics and statistics. My favorite as a first introduction is

    Callen, H. B.: Thermodynamics and an Introduction to Thermostatistics, 2 edition, John Wiley&Sons, 1985

    When I studied it the first time, I used

    Reif, F.: Fundamentals of statistical and thermal physics, McGraw Hill Book Company, 1965

    which is also good but to my taste sometimes has a bit too much text ;-)).

    Another brillant book is vol. V of Landau/Lifshitz's textbook series on theoretical physics:


    For statistical physics, I also like the information-theoretical approach (Shannon-Jayne's principle), for which I can recommend

    Katz, Amnon: Principles of Statistical Mechanics, W. H. Freeman and Company, 1967


    Hobson, Arthur: Concepts in Statistical Mechanics, 2 edition, Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, 1987
  4. Nov 7, 2013 #3
    I am on undergraduate level and this is my first thermodynamics course. I am looking for a book which has a detail explanation
  5. Nov 7, 2013 #4
    I think Schroeder is great for a casual introduction to thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, ideal for an introduction. The level is gentle and accessible, and there are many thought-provoking exercises.

    I have also heard good things about Blundell.

    If you want a "detailed understanding" you should probably continue with Kittel/Kroemer or Landau/Lifshitz, but these are more advanced and probably require stronger preparation in quantum mechanics (so are typically inappropriate for an introduction).
  6. Nov 8, 2013 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

    For the very first encounter from my list the book by Callen is great. I used it when I had the introductory lecture on the subject, and it helped me a lot :-).
  7. Nov 8, 2013 #6


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    My suggestion is to follow closely the recommended text for your course, and dip into many other books when there is a point you don't understand. It is really only by reading a wide range of viewpoints and synthesizing them for yourself that you can understand the subject.

    I like
    Adkins Equilibrium Thermodynamics
    Peliti Statistical Mechanics in a Nutshell
    Kardar Statistical Physics of Particles
    Kardar Statistical Physics of Fields

    Excellent lecture notes online are
    http://www.pma.caltech.edu/~mcc/Ph127/a/ [Broken]
    http://www.pma.caltech.edu/~mcc/Ph127/b/ [Broken]
    http://www.pma.caltech.edu/~mcc/Ph127/c/ [Broken]
    http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/physics/8-333-statistical-mechanics-i-statistical-mechanics-of-particles-fall-2007/ [Broken]
    http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/physics/8-334-statistical-mechanics-ii-statistical-physics-of-fields-spring-2008/ [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  8. Nov 8, 2013 #7
  9. Nov 8, 2013 #8


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I second the suggestion of Schroeder - I self-studied from Reif and wish Schroeder had been around back then...

    Other free resources online:
    Here you can find notes (really books!) on many topics, including undergrad statistical physics.

    Written for undergrads and includes simulations

    portions were written for "honors" intro physics, otherwise is at grad level. Is great reading; problems can be long, but he tells you explicitly which problems are easy and which are hard.

    For a very easy introduction to some aspects of statistical mechanics a nice book is Elements of statistical thermodynamics by Nash
    Was written for freshman chemistry students. Is worth a look if it is in your library.

  10. Nov 27, 2013 #9


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    One of my favourites is
    Peter T. Landsberg, Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics, Dover
    Specifically, Landsberg has worked actively on the field of phenomenological thermodynamics and therefore the presentation of it is very modern and free of historical ballast which makes other text hard to follow.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted