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Thermodynamics with statistical mechanics pedagogy question

  1. Dec 6, 2012 #1
    I was wondering if it's common in undergraduate studies for statistical mechanics to be covered in the last 3-4 weeks of a thermodynamics course? I feel like the same is done for infinite series in a 2nd semester of calculus. Needless to say, both topics deserve much more time to fully do them justice - which brings me to my 2nd question - is a thorough treatment of statistical mechanics usually a graduate level course? Or is it just my school that is like this? Thanks
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 6, 2012 #2
    I think it's more of your school's prescription. At my school the course was junior level, the first 3 weeks involved reviewing classical thermodynamics (also adding a little sophistication from how it was treated in a freshman level course) before we immediately jumped into statistical mechanics during week 4 with the micro canonical ensemble.

    We used Thermal Physics by Kittel and Kroemer (pretty decent book). Note however, that we used a standard introductory physics textbook for the classical thermodynamics portion, the Kittel book doesn't really even mention the word "heat" or the phrase "thermal process" until like chapter 8 if I remember correctly.
     
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