2019 Statistical Mechanics (EPS course)

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Academic unit or major
Undergraduate major in Earth and Planetary Sciences
Sato Bunei  Hosoya Akio  Nakamoto Taishi 
Course component(s)
Lecture / Exercise     
Day/Period(Room No.)
Mon5-8(I2-318, Ishikawadai Bldg. 2, 318 room)  Thr5-8(I2-318, Ishikawadai Bldg. 2, 318 room)  
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
Language used
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Course description and aims

This course is primarily for beginners who need a basic understanding of statistical mechanics starting from a summary of thermodynamics.
The classical gas molecular theory helps to grasp the basic concept of probability distribution to micro-canonical, canonical, and grand canonical ensembles. Some applications are shown.

Student learning outcomes

[target] Students will become comfortable to use basic statistical mechanics as a useful standard tool for the earth and planetary sciences.


thermodynamics, gas molecular dynamics, micro-canonical, canonical,grand canonical ensemble, entropy, free energy, partition function

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

Starting with a brief summary of the previous lecture I will give a simple homework assignment to
help students gain a better understanding. At the end of the course an overall summary is given, which may be helpful for the exam.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Thermodynamics(1) The first law, what is heat?
Class 2 Thermodynamics(2) Carnot’s principle, entropy
Class 3 gas molecular theory Maxwell's distribution, Bernoulli’s relation
Class 4 Thermodynamics and statistical mechanics macroscopic and microscopic physics
Class 5 Micro-canonical statistics principle of equal a priori probabilities、  Boltzmann’s formula、ideal gas
Class 6 Canonical statistics(1) Derivation from microcanonical statistics、Helmholtz’ free energy
Class 7 Canonical statistics(2) Partition function、Boltzmann factor
Class 8 Canonical statistics((3) Free particles, Harmonic ocsillator
Class 9 Grand canonical statistics Gibbs’ free energy、Chemical potential
Class 10 Quantum statistical mechanics(1) Bose statistics、Bose-Einstein condensation
Class 11 Quantum statistical mechanics(2) Fermi statistics、Fermi degeneracy
Class 12 Application of statistical mechanics to astrophysics(1) White dwarf、Neutron star、Chandrasekhar limit
Class 13 Application of statistical mechanics to astrophysics(2) Nucleosynthesis
Class 14 Summary total summary
Class 15 Essence of statistical mechanics statistical mechanics minimum, what is not yet understood



Reference books, course materials, etc.

"statistical mechanics", Landau and Lifshitz

Assessment criteria and methods

by Homeworks, Exam, Exercise, Mini-exam

Related courses

  • EPS.B202 : Thermodynamics (EPS course)
  • EPS.B331 : Quantum Mechanics (EPS course)

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)


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