Fall, 2002


28-Jan-2003: Here is the final (in case you lost your copy) and the solutions. You can pick up your graded exams and course grade from me. After a few weeks, I'll give any unclaimed exams to the department office.

21-Jan-2003: Solutions to the 1999 final are here.

07-Jan-2003 (typo corrected 13-Jan-2003): We will have review sessions on Monday afternoon, January 20, starting at 1:30 (not 4:30 as originally posted) and Tuesday evening, January 21, starting at 7:30. Both reviews will be in Jadwin A06. (Note - not our regular classroom!) The final from the fall semester, 1999, the last time I taught the course, is here. I will prepare some things for the review and one of the things we might do is go over the 1999 final. However, the review will be most effective if you come with questions!

27-Nov-2002: The homework 10 due date is changed yet again to Thursday, December 5, 5pm.

22-Nov-2002: The homework 10 due date is changed to Wednesday, Decemnber 4, 5pm. This is to give a little breathing room between turning in the draft of your junior paper on Monday and doing homework 10.

08-Nov-2002: The arrangement of topics in the syllabus for weeks 9 and 10 has been changed slightly to better accommodate Thanksgiving.

17-Oct-2002: There is no problem session Sunday, October 27. There is a problem session is Sunday, November 3.

11-Oct-2002 4:50 pm: Lecture 16 replaced to add numerical values for Fermi energy and temperature of copper.

04-Oct-2002: Sameer's office hours have been changed to 4:30 Monday afternoons.

03-Oct-2002: I've collected all the lecture section headings into a single file to make it easier to find which lecture covers which topic. See below.

26-Sep-2002: Problem Sessions moved to Jadwin 4th floor lounge (see below).

26-Sep-2002 1:25 pm: Homework 2 replaced to correct references to lectures.

Course Instructor: Ed Groth, Jadwin 264, x8-4361,

Office Hours: Most afternoons - give a call before walking across campus! Almost surely Wednesday afternoons, 2:00-4:00 pm.

Teaching Assistant: Sameer Murthy, Jadwin 424, x8-5934,

Office Hours: Monday afernoons, 4:30 -  pm.

Course Manager: Martin Kicinski, 208, x8-4408,

Lectures: Monday, Wednesday, & Friday, 10:00-10:50 am, Jadwin A08.

Problem Session: Sunday evenings, 7pm, Fourth Floor Lounge, Jadwin 403. (Moved starting 29-Sep-2002.) Starting 22-Sep-2002.

Text: Kittel & Kroemer, Thermal Physics 2nd ed., Freeman. (to be followed closely or loosely depending on the topic)

Others: Mandl, Statistical Physics, Wiley. Similar to K&K.

Reif, Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics, McGraw Hill. Also similar to K&K.

Feynman, Statistical Mechanics, a Set of Lectures, Addison Wesley. This is fairly advanced, but it's always worthwhile to see what Feynman has to say.

Callen, Thermodynamics, Wiley. A classic treatment of thermodynamics.

I've asked that all the above be placed on reserve at Fine Library.

Homework: Assigned Monday (I will try, but sometimes the assignment may not be ready until Wednesday!), due the next Tuesday in the department office (208) by 5pm, returned the next Monday. 50% of grade. Collaboration encouraged (but not copying!). Late homework may receive only half or none of the grade depending on how late it is and how it fits into the grading schedule!

Midterm: None.

Final: 50% of grade.


We will start by following K&K and cover fundamentals of statistical mechanics and thermodynamics, including temperature and entropy. We will cover the Boltzmann, Bose, and Fermi distributions; black body radiation; chemical potential; Gibbs free energy; and phase transitions. Then we'll consider some of the more advanced topics in K&K. A more detailed syllabus is in the table below.


The lecture notes and the homework assignments will be available for downloading. Note that I write the lecture notes mainly so I know what I'm going to say. I like to distribute them so you can follow along in lecture rather than having to worry about taking notes.

The notes and assignments are written in TeX and converted to postscript which is converted to PDF. You will need a to be able to view and print PDF for downloading to be useful! Acrobat Reader from Adobe is a free viewer for PDF format. The files are large because the fonts used by TeX are embedded in the files.

If you discover errors or typos, or just plain unclear passages, let me know at

You may occasionally get a file not found error if I've put in the link, but haven't installed to the actual file yet.

Lecture section headings to help find which lecture covers a particular topic.


Week Starting Date Tentative Topics
Lectures Homework Assignments and Solutions
0 9-Sep-2002 Introduction, Thermodynamic Conccepts
    1 No homework this week!
1 16-Sep-2002 Entropy, Temperature, Pressure, Chemical Potential, Probability
2 3 4 Due: 24-Sep-2002 Homework 1 Solutions
2 23-Sep-2002 Boltzmann Factor, Partition Function, Particle in a Box, Free Energy
5 6 7 Due: 1-Oct-2002 Homework 2 Solutions
3 30-Sep-2002 Harmonic Oscillator, Classical/Quantum Cavity Radiation, Oscillator Applications
8 9 10 Due: 8-Oct-2002 Homework 3 Solutions
4 7-Oct-2002 Chemical Potential, Gibbs Distribution, Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein Distributions
11 12 13 Due: 15-Oct-2002 Homework 4 Solutions
5 14-Oct-2002 Ideal Gas (again), Sackur-Tetrode Entropy, Ideal Fermi Gas
14 15 16 Due: 22-Oct-2002 Homework 5 Solutions
6 21-Oct-2002 Fermi Gases, Bose-Einstein Gases, Heat, Work, Carnot Cycle
17 18 19 Due: 5-Nov-2002 Homework 6 Solutions
  28-Oct-2002 Midterm Break
7 4-Nov-2002 Gibbs Free Energy, Chemical Equilibrium, Saha Equation, Phase Transitions
20 21 22 Due: 12-Nov-2002 Homework 7 Solutions
8 11-Nov-2002 Phase Transition Examples, Ising Model
23 24 25 Due: 19-Nov-2002 Homework 8 Solutions
9 18-Nov-2002 Mixtures, Getting Cold, Semiconductor Basics
26 27 28 Due: 26-Nov-2002 Homework 9 Solutions
10 25-Nov-2002 Electrons in Semiconductors
29 30   Due: 3-Dec-2002 Homework 10 Solutions
11 2-Dec-2002 Collisions, Mean Free Path, Transport
31 32 33 Due: 10-Dec-2002 Homework 11 Solutions
12 9-Dec-2002 High Vacuum, Diffusion, Sound Waves and Heat Losses
34 35 36 Due: Never Homework 12 Solutions

Copyright © 2002, Princeton University Physics Department and E. J. Groth