chap1_1 - PHYS321 Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics...

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PHYS321 Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics
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Thermal Physics Deals with a collection of a large number of particles “More is different!” --- P.W. Anderson It is effectively impossible to follow the motion and trajectory of each particle In thermal physics, we combine two approaches Thermodynamics (macroscopic) Statistical mechanics (microscopic) to understand and predict behavior. “Four fundamental pillars of our physical theory: general relativity, quantum mechanics, the theory of elementary particles and statistical mechanics… No single, coherent and clear understanding as to just what the theory of statistical mechanics is or ought to be.” --- Physics and Chance, L. Sklar
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Thermodynamics From the Greek thermos meaning heat (Latin thermae: public baths) and dynamis meaning power The study of the conversion between heat energy and different forms of energy, and its relation to macroscopic variables such as temperature, pressure, and volume. Macroscopic theory (i.e. it doesn’t contain information about atoms, molecules, … about atoms, molecules, …) Does not depend upon microscopic detail (e.g. 1st & 2nd laws, heat flow from “hot” to “cold”, maximum efficiency of engines) It is a phenomenlogical theory, based on experimental observations Historically, thermodynamics developed out of the need to increase the efficiency of early steam engines
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Thermodynamics – widely applied, very fundamental and reliable “Thermodynamics has something to say about everything but does not tell us everything about anything.” --- Goldstein, The Refrigerator and the Universe “A theory is the more impressive the greater simplicity of its premises is, the more different things it relates, and the more extended is its applicability. Therefore the deep impression which classical thermodynamics made upon me; it is the only theory of universal content concerning which convinced that, within the framework of the applicability of its basic concepts, will never be overthrown .” ---Albert Einstein
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Statistical Mechanics Statistics + Mechanics Statistical mechanics is the application of statistics, which includes mathematical tools for dealing with large populations, to the field of physics Fundamental laws of interactions (e.g. mechanics, quantum mechanics, etc.) Statistical concepts and Statistical theory of a large collection of particles certain basic assumptions It gives probabilistic predictions on the behavior of the system. When the system is large, the fluctuation becomes negligible and it reproduces the deterministic results in thermodynamics. Provides an underlying explanation of thermodynamics
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“Ludwig Boltzmann, who spent much of his life studying statistical mechanics, died in 1906, by his own hand. Paul Ehrenfest, carrying on the work, died similarly in 1933. Now it is our turn to study statistical mechanics. Perhaps it will be wise to approach the
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chap1_1 - PHYS321 Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics...

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