Statistical Physics


Dr Judith A McGovern

The course:

This course is core for all students on second year Physics programmes.

This course follows on from PHYS10352 Properties of Matter. We will see how the classical lawsof thermodynamics can be derived from underlying microscopic considerations. Unlike in first year we primarily use quantum ideas here, so basic quantum mechanics is also a prerequisite. The handbook entry for the course gives the current syllabus.

Textbooks etc

The main textbooks for the course are

Mandl, F. Statistical Physics 2nd edition (Wiley) (Available as an ebook)

Bowley, R. and Sanchez, M. Introductory Statistical Mechanics (Oxford)

Kittel, C. and Kroemer, H. Thermal Physics 2nd Edition (Freeman)

The course Blackboard site site is used as a repository for material such as visualiser notes which will not be made publicly available.

The notes of the previous course lecturer, Prof Galla, are available on Blackboard.

This website was prepared when I gave the previous version of PHYS20352, when it covered thermal as well as statistical physics, and had limited material on Bose and Fermi gases. Sections 1&2 should be mostly revision, and sections 3-5 will largely be incorporated into the notes for the current course.


Examples for this course are issued with the weekly second-year tutorial sheets, available on the Blackboard tutorial site.


This document contains notes on past exam for revision purposes, the formula sheet that will be on all future exams, and specific notes about the 2020 formative exam.

Past exams, along with bottom line answers and feedback are available in the on Physics UG virtual common room on Blackboard.

Lecture notes

These notes are now complete as regards the coverage of lectured material, though I will continue to correct misprints if I find them, and may if time permits add an appendix gathering together useful results from the tutorial sheets.