Fall, 2004


18-Jan-2005: The finals have been graded and course grades have been computed and sent to the registrar. Finals may be picked up in my office (preferred) or you may send an email requesting your course grade.

Here are the final and solutions. Some interesting facts: There were a choice of 3 of 5 problems. Problems 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 were done by 30, 37, 28, 7, and 9 students, respectively (total of 37 students). The numeric grades ranged from 7 to 30 points out of 30. The average was 18.3. For the course, normalized to 100%, the average was 71% which turned out to be between A- and B+. (At midterm the course average was 72%!)

11-Jan-2005: A list of section headings by lecture (kind of like a table of contents) has been added.

04-Jan-2005: Schedule for the next ten days or so: Sunday, January 9, regular problem session at 7pm in the 4th floor lounge; Monday, January 10, homework 11 due in the department office at 5pm; Tuesday, January 11, 2pm review session in A06: I will work last year's final and answer questions-ends 4:30 or earlier (we lose the room at 4:30); Wednesday, January 12, 7pm in the 4th floor lounge, Karol leads a review session; Thursday, January 13, 7:30-10:30pm, final exam, closed book and notes, calculators allowed for calculating, not storing formulae or data.

10-Dec-2004: Last year's final for review.

23-Nov-2004: The final exm schedule has been posted by the registrar. Our exam is Thursday, January 13, at 7:30 pm.

28-Oct-2004: There is no problem session this Sunday, Halloween. Problem sessions resume next Sunday, November 7.

28-Oct-2004: The midterm and its solution.

19-Oct-2004: All the solution sets have been reformatted to make them fit on the page better.

11-Oct-2004: Midterm week schedule: Monday, October 18: In class review. Monday, October 18: Homework 5 due in department office by 5pm. Tuesday, October 19: Karol leads evening review, 7:30pm, 4th floor lounge. Wednesday, October 20: In class midterm. Friday, October 22: Class: TBD.

11-Oct-2004: Last year's midterm for review.

15-Sep-2004: Problem sessions start this Sunday, September 19, 2004. Karol's office hours are on Thursday.

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: Karol Gregor, Jadwin 429/Fine Library, x8-4355,

Office Hours: Thursdays, 3:00-4:15 pm, sometimes will end at 3:45 pm, Fridays, 1:00-2:00 pm.

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

Lectures: Monday, Wednesday, & Friday, 10:00-10:50 am, Jadwin A06.

Problem Session: Sunday evenings, 7pm, Fourth Floor Lounge, Jadwin 403. Starting 19-Sep-2004.

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

Others: Schroeder, An Introduction to Thermal Physics, Addison, Wesley, Longman. Similar to K&K, perhaps at a more introductory level.

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. 40% 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: In class, Wednesday, October 20, 15% of grade.

Final: 45% 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 6-Sep-2004 Introduction, Thermodynamic Conccepts
    1 No homework this week!
1 13-Sep-2004 Entropy, Temperature, Pressure, Chemical Potential, Probability
2 3 4 Due: 21-Sep-2004 Homework 1 Solutions
2 20-Sep-2004 Boltzmann Factor, Partition Function, Particle in a Box, Free Energy
5 6 7 Due: 28-Sep-2004 Homework 2 Solutions
3 27-Sep-2004 Harmonic Oscillator, Classical/Quantum Cavity Radiation, Oscillator Applications
8 9 10 Due: 5-Oct-2004 Homework 3 Solutions
4 4-Oct-2004 Chemical Potential, Gibbs Distribution, Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein Distributions
11 12 13 Due: 12-Oct-2004 Homework 4 Solutions
5 11-Oct-2004 Ideal Gas (again), Sackur-Tetrode Entropy, Ideal Fermi Gas
14 15 16 Due: 18-Oct-2004 ***Monday*** Homework 5 Solutions
6 18-Oct-2004 Monday: Review; Wednesday: Midterm; Friday: TBD
  25-Oct-2004 Midterm Break
7 1-Nov-2004 Fermi Gases, Bose-Einstein Gases, Heat, Work, Carnot Cycle
17 18 19 Due: 9-Nov-2004 Homework 6 Solutions
8 8-Nov-2004 Gibbs Free Energy, Chemical Equilibrium, Saha Equation, Phase Transitions
20 21 22 Due: 16-Nov-2004 Homework 7 Solutions
9 15-Nov-2004 More Phase Transitions, Ising Model, Getting Cold
23 24 25 Due: 23-Nov-2004 Homework 8 Solutions
10 22-Nov-2004 Semiconductor Basics, Electrons in Semiconductors
26 27   Due: 30-Nov-2004 Homework 9 Solutions
11 29-Nov-2004 Collisions, Mean Free Path, Transport
28 29 30 Due: 7-Dec-2004 Homework 10 Solutions
12 6-Dec-2004 Diffusion, Sound Waves
31 32 33 Due: 10-Jan-2005 Homework 11 Solutions

Copyright © 2005, Princeton University Physics Department and E. J. Groth