Karen Kheruntsyan





I teach and coordinate second and third year core Physics courses, PHYS2041 - Quantum Physics and PHYS3020/7021 - Statistical Mechanics. I also teach half of fourth year course PHYS4030 - Condensed Matter Physics.


This webpage contains the schedule of weekly activities, including lectures, tutorial problems, suggested readings, and the dates of mid-semester tests for PHYS3020/7021.


For a similar page for PHYS2041 - Quantum Physics, please follow this link.



balck-body radiation

PHYS3020/7021 - Statistical Mechanics



1 Course Timetable and Reading Material for 2017

1.1 Timetable


Tuesdays: Lecture, 10:00am-10:50am; 01-E302
Wednesdays: Lecture, 5:00pm-5:50pm; 76-228
Thursdays: Tutorial, 9:00am-9:50am; 01-E356, 35-207, 35-215


Labs: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00-4:50pm, 7-329
4 labs to choose from, 2 labs must be completed over the course of the semester (2 x 2 afternoons).


Tuesdays 11:00am-1:00pm
Office: 6-402

1.2 Schedule of lectures, tutorials, and mid-semester tests

Readings are from the following main texts (either text can be used):
1. Daniel V. Schroeder, An introduction to thermal physics [Schroeder].
2. Charles Kittel and Herbert Kroemer, Thermal Physics [Kittel].

Students who would like to do extra-curriculum reading and familiarise themselves with, e.g., the density matrix formulation of quantum statistical ensembles, are encouraged to read the following advanced texts:

1. Kerson Huang, Statistical Mechanics (Wiley, 1963).
2. L. D. Landau and E. M. Lifshitz, Statistical Physics, 3rd edition (Pergamon, 1980).
3. L. D. Landau and E. M. Lifshitz, Quantum mechanics, 3rd edition (Pergamon, 1980).

These extra-curriculum readings are not part of the formal assessment.

Week 1  
25 Jul Lecture 1: Introduction; An overview of Thermal Physics.
[Schroeder, pp. 1-20]
26 Jul
L2: Multiplicity; States of model binary systems.
[Schroeder, pp. 49-66, 68-74] or [Kittel, pp. 5-26]
27 Jul  Problem Set 1
Week 2  
Tue 1 Aug L3: Micro-canonical ensemble; Fundamental assumption.
[Schroeder, pp. 56-59, 74-94] or [Kittel, pp. 29-45]
Wed 2 Aug L4: Entropy; Temperature.
[Schroeder, pp. 74-94, 98-105] or [Kittel, pp. 29-45]
Thu 3 Aug Problem Set 2
Week 3  
Tue 8 Aug L5: Laws of thermodynamics.
[Kittel, pp. 45-52] or [Schroeder 17-20, 74-98]
Wed 9 Aug

L6: Canonical ensemble formalism: Boltzmann Factor; Partition Function.
[Schroeder, pp. 220-229] or [Kittel, pp. 58-64].

Thu 10 Aug

Revision: Weeks 1-3; Start Problem Set 3

Week 4
Tue 15 Aug 

L7: Canonical ensemble formalism: Free energy, Pressure, and Thermodynamic Identity.
[Schroeder, pp. 108-114, 149-152, 156-164] or [Kittel, pp. 64-72]

Wed 16 Aug 

Public Holiday

Thu 17 Aug Problem Set 3
Week 5
Tue 22 Aug 

L7 (cont.): Canonical ensemble formalism: Free energy, Pressure, and Thermodynamic Identity.
[Schroeder, pp. 108-114, 149-152, 156-164] or [Kittel, pp. 64-72]

(Extra-curriculum lecture on Negative Temperaure.)

Wed  23 Aug  L8: Ideal gas: a first look; Gibbs Paradox; Equipartition Theorem.
[Schroeder, pp. 229-255] or [Kittel, pp. 72-81]
Thu 24 Aug  Problem Set 4
Week 6
Tue 29 Aug L8 (cont.): Ideal gas: a first look; Gibbs Paradox; Equipartition Theorem.
[Schroeder, pp. 229-255] or [Kittel, pp. 72-81]
Wed 30 Aug Revision
Thu 31 Aug Mid Semester Test 1
Week 7
Tue 5 Sep L9: Grand-canonical ensemble formalism: Chemical potential; Grand-Canonical Partition Function
[Schroeder, pp. 115-121, 257-261] or [Kittel, pp. 117-122, 131-140]
Wed 6 Sep L10: Identity of particles in Quantum Mechanics; Bosons and Fermions;
Bose-Einstein and Fermi-Dirac distributions.
[Schroeder, pp. 262-271,379-380] or [Kittel, pp. 151-161]
Thu 7 Sep Problem Set 5
Week 8
Tue 12 Sep L11: Quantum and classical regimes of an ideal gas; Grand canonical description of the ideal gas.
[Schroeder, pp. 262-271,379-380] and [Kittel, pp. 160-166]
Wed 13 Sep L12: Spin multiplicity; Quantum states and quantum density of states.
[Schroeder, pp. 262-271,279-282] or [Kittel, pp. 181-188].
Thu 14 Sep Problem Set 6
Week 9
19 Sep L13: Fermi gases.
[Schroeder, pp.271-282] or [Kittel, pp. 183-189]
Wed 20 Sep L14: Finite temperature Fermi gases.
[Schroeder, pp.282-288] or [Kittel, pp. 189-199]
Thu 21 Sep Problem Set 7
Week 10
Tue 3 Oct L15: Bose gases.
[Schroeder, pp.315-326] or [Kittel, pp. 199-206]
Wed 4 Oct L16: Finite temperature Bose gases.
[Schroeder, pp.315-326] or [Kittel, pp. 202-210]
Thu 5 Oct Problem Set 8
Week 11
Tue 10 Oct Revision
Wed 11 Oct Mid Semester Test 2
Thu 12 Oct Solutions to Mid Semester Test 2
Week 12
Tue 17 Oct  L17: Planck distribution; Black-body radiation.
[Schroeder, pp.288-292] or [Kittel, pp. 89-94]
Wed 18 Oct L18: Black-body radiation (cont.).
[Schroeder, pp. 292-306] or [Kittel, pp. 94-98]
Thu 19 Oct  Problem Set 9
Week 13
Tue 24 Oct L19: Debye model of a solid.
[Schroeder, pp. 307-314] and [Kittel, pp. 102-110]
Wed 25 Oct L20: The Ising model of a ferromagnet.
[Schroeder, pp. 339-346]
Thu 26 Oct Problem Set 10, Revision.
4 Nov - 18 Nov Examination period