Physics and astronomy

Thermal and Statistical Physics

Module code: F3224
Level 5
15 credits in spring teaching
Teaching method: Workshop, Class, Lecture
Assessment modes: Coursework, Unseen examination

Topics covered include:

  • Review of kinetic theory of gases and first law of thermodynamics.
  • Basics of statistical mechanics. Microstates, entropy, second law.
  • Classical thermodynamics. Engines and refrigerators.
  • More statistical mechanics. Maxwell-Boltzmann, Bose-Einstein and Fermi-Dirac distributions.
  • Blackbody radiation.
  • Elements of phase transitions.


Level 4: (F3201) Maths Methods 1 ; (F3202) Maths Methods 2 [T2] ; (F3240) Classical Physics [T2].
Level 5: (F3205) Maths Methods 3 [T1].

Level 5: (F3239) Quantum Mechanics 1 [T2].

Module learning outcomes

  • State the laws of classical thermodynamics, and apply them to simple problems.
  • Define some of the tools of statistical mechanics, and apply them to simple systems.