What is it all about?
Study of Macroscopic Properties (like, heat,
temperature, energy, volume, pressure) of large, bulk systems, such as
materials, heat machines etc. Was founded in 18th Century in the course of
Industrial revolution (Carnot, Cuviet,Clapeiron, Clausius, Boyle, Fourier, Fick etc).
Agnostic about underlying microscopic causes of observed phenomena (e.g. for
many years the dominant paradigm in thermodynamics was theory of
which asserted that heat is a special liquid which
flows from a hot object to a
(from end of 19th century till present -
Maxwell, Boltzmann, Gibbs, Landau, Feinmann, Onsager, Ulam…)
seeks to describe the same macroscopic properties but with
microscopic, molecular picture! Statistical mechanics is predictive: it can
successfully derive many important properties of materials (heat
capacity, susceptibility, even protein structure and stability!) from
properties of their constituent atoms and molecules.