Courses Catalogue

Statistical Mechanics

COURSE CODE: PHY2201
COURSE CREDIT UNIT: 3
ACADEMIC PROGRAMME: Physics BSc
COLLEGE/SCHOOL/FACULTY: School of Natural and Applied Sciences
STATUS: Core
PROGRAMME TYPE: Undergraduate

Course Description

COURSE DESCRIPTION

 

The course introduces the student to the statistical description of systems of particles, including the concept of phase space, microstates and statistical ensembles. The course deals with ensembles of microscopic systems which are used to calculate statistical averages of various thermodynamic variables such as temperature, pressure, entropy internal energy of an ideal gas in terms of the microscopic model of the systems.

 

COURSE JUSTIFICATION/RATIONALE

 

The aim of this course is to provide a general understanding of statistical mechanics which links the microscopic properties of physical systems to their macroscopic properties.

 

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

 

By the end of this course, the student should be able to:

§  Discuss different statistical ensembles, their distribution functions, ranges of applicability and the corresponding thermodynamic potentials.

§  Derive Maxwell-Boltzman (MB) function for simple systems, Bose-Einstein (BE) and Fermi –Dirac (FD) distributions.

§  Apply MB, BE and FD distributions

 

LEARNING OUTCOMES

 

A student completing the course is expected to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

§  Microcanonical ensemble (e.g. enumerate microstates for some simple physical systems)

§  Microscopic definition of entropy and temperature

§  Canonical ensemble, and applications to some simple physical systems immersed in a heat bath (temperature)

§  Probabilistic interpretation of entropy, heat and work

§  Chemical potential

§  How Bose-Einstein condensation leads to unique states of matter at low temperatures

§  Employ quantum mechanics for a correct statistical description in terms of Fermi and Bose gases and their applications

§  Distinguish between Bose and Fermi gases and their ground states