1st Edition

Statistical Mechanics An Elementary Outline

By Lahiri Avijit Copyright 2009
    290 Pages
    by CRC Press

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    Compared to the previous edition where the quantum theoretic development of the subject was chosen from the very beginning, this revised edition presents the classical theory as the launching pad by introducing a number of key concepts so as to make the subject accessible to a wider group of readers. In addition, the technical soundness of presentation has been raised to a higher level by using the concepts of the mixed state and the reduced state as the basic building blocks of the theory as well as relating equilibrium statistical mechanics to the long-term time evolution of the reduced state. The author avoids technically rigorous, formal analysis in favor of a clear understanding at a semi-intuitive level.

    Preface to the First Revised Edition

    Preface to the First Edition


    Getting Launched from Classical Mechanics: A Preview of Statistical Mechanics

    Quantum Mechanics: Elementary Notions

    Quantum Mechanics: Illustrations

    Statistical Mechanics: The First Fundamental Postulate

    The Entropy Postulate

    The Programme of Equilibrium Statistical Mechanics

    Appendix: More on the Fundamental Postulates


    Stirling’s Approximation

    System of Non-Interacting Spins

    Einstein’s Theory of Crystalline Specific Heat

    Systems of Identical Particles

    State Counting for Bosons and Fermions

    The Ideal Gas

    The Classical Ideal Gas: Semiclassical State Counting


    Introducing the Canonical Ensemble

    Probability Distribution in the Canonical Ensemble

    Thermodynamic Quantities in the Canonical Ensemble

    Energy Dispersion in the Canonical Ensemble

    Statistical Mechanics of Large System: Recapitulation

    The Grand Canonical Ensemble: Introduction

    Probability Distribution in the Grand Canonical Ensemble

    Thermodynamic Functions in the Grand Canonical Ensemble

    Entropy as "Disorder"

    Evolution Toward Maximal Disorder



    A Single Harmonic Oscillator at Temperature T

    A System of Distinct Non-Interacting Constituents at Temperatures T

    Semiclassical Statistical Mechanics in the Canonical Ensemble and Applications

    The Vibrating Lattice: Specific Heat at Low Temperatures

    Black Body Radiation: Plank’s Formula

    Paramagnetic Susceptibility

    Ideal Fermi and Bose Gases in the Grand Canonical Ensemble

    Quantum Virial Expansion for the Ideal Gas

    The "Electron Gas" in a Conductor

    Bose Condensation

    Ferromagnetic Behavior and the Using Model

    Gas with Weakly Interacting Molecules: Deviation from Ideality




    Avijit, Lahiri

    … He [the author] has obviously thought deeply about how best to teach this subject. … Students will appreciate the full and carefully elaborated solutions presented to many of the posed problems. … The written text is lucid and informal. … I would recommend it as a supplementary text … .
    Contemporary Physics, Volume 52, Issue 3, 2011

    … a different and insightful explanation of the main elementary material of statistical mechanics. … I would recommend this book to those who wish to pursue a deeper understanding of statistical mechanics. This makes it best suited for postgraduate courses and beyond. … For a course at any level, there is plenty of useful material and the book’s less commonly encountered perspectives justify its consideration.
    —Richard Henchman, Reviews, Volume 11, 2010