The revised edition of 'Statistical Mechanics: An Elementary Outline' is a novel experiment in the pedagogy of statistical mechanics, wherein the reader is made familiar with the basic concepts relating to the foundations of the subject and, at the same time, gets to know how the practical derivations are worked out in elementary applications. The material is arranged so that the reader can decide which of the two to focus upon, perhaps relegating the latter to a cursory attention in the first reading. The book includes a small number of well-chosen exercises of a heuristic nature, designed to enable the reader to undertake with confidence and initiative the next higher course on the subject. Some of the problems are challenging, like the problem on the anharmonic correction to the equipartition of energy. A number of new topics are introduced in this edition to make the material more complete and solidly founded.
Avijit Lahiri is a well-known teacher and researcher with published work in several basic areas of physics. His current research interest includes quantum entanglement and the measurement problem, and spatio-temporal patterns in excitable media, especially in neuronal networks.
Preface to the First Revised Edition / Preface to the First Edition / INTRODUCTION: 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 to Chapter 1: More on the Fundamental Postulates / THE MICROCANONICAL ENSEMBLE AND ITS APPLICATIONS: 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 / THE CANONICAL AND THE GRAND CANONICAL ENSEMBLES: 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 Towards Maximal Disorder; Appendices to Chapter 3 / STATISTICAL MECHANICS: SIMPLE APPLICATIONS: 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 Behaviour and the Using Model; Gas with Weakly Interacting Molecules: Deviation from Ideality / References / Index
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