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An Introduction to Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics : Oxford Graduate Texts - Robert H. Swendsen

An Introduction to Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics

By: Robert H. Swendsen

Paperback | 15 August 2024

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This text presents the two complementary aspects of thermal physics as an integrated theory of the properties of matter. Conceptual understanding is promoted by thorough development of basic concepts. In contrast to many texts, statistical mechanics, including discussion of the required probability theory, is presented first. This provides a statistical foundation for the concept of entropy, which is central to thermal physics. A unique feature of the book is the development of entropy based on Boltzmann's 1877 definition; this avoids contradictions or ad hoc corrections found in other texts. Detailed fundamentals provide a natural grounding for advanced topics, such as black-body radiation and quantum gases. An extensive set of problems (solutions are available for lecturers through the OUP website), many including explicit computations, advance the core content by probing essential concepts. The text is designed for a two-semester undergraduate course but can be adapted for one-semester courses emphasizing either aspect of thermal physics. It is also suitable for graduate study.
Industry Reviews
Review from previous edition In his innovative new text, Carnegie Mellon University physics professor Robert Swendsen presents the foundations of statistical mechanics with, as he puts it, a detour through thermodynamics. That's a desirable strategy because the statistical approach is more fundamental than the classical thermodynamics approach and has many applications to current research problems. [] The mathematical notation is carefully introduced and useful; the selected mathematical techniques are clearly explained in a conversational style that both graduate and advanced undergraduate students will find easy to follow. The author's subject organization and conceptual viewpoint address some of the shortcomings of conventional developments of thermal physics and will be helpful to students and researchers seeking a deep appreciation of statistical physics. * Physics Today, August 2013 *
Bob Swendsen's book is very well thought out, educationally sound, and more original than other texts. * Jan Tobochnik, Kalamazoo College, USA *
Robert Swendsen is a well-respected researcher who has developed many novel algorithms that illustrate his deep understanding of statistical mechanics. His textbook reflects his deep understanding and will likely have a major impact on the way statistical mechanics and thermodynamics is taught. Particularly noteworthy is Swendsen's treatment of entropy, following Boltzmann's original definition in terms of probability, and his comprehensive discussion of the fundamental principles and applications of statistical mechanics and thermodynamics. Students and instructors will enjoy reading the book as much as Swendsen obviously enjoyed writing it. * Harvey Gould, Clark University, USA *
In this reader-friendly, excellent text, the author provides a unique combination of the best of two worlds: traditional thermodynamics (following Callen's footsteps) and modern statistical mechanics (including VPython codes for simulations). * Royce Zia, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA *
Swendsen is famous for developing Monte Carlo algorithms which dramatically speed up the simulation of many systems near a phase transition. The ideas for those algorithms required deep understanding of statistical mechanics, an understanding which is now fully applied to this excellent textbook. * Peter Young, University of California, USA *

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