An Introduction to Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics: Second Edition (2nd edition)

ISBN : 9780198853237

Robert Swendsen
448 ページ
171 x 171 mm
Oxford Graduate Texts



  • Complete guide to the derivation of thermodynamic identities using Jacobians to simplify the process
  • Most books on thermodynamics are written for engineers or chemists; this book is written for physicists
  • Use of computer similuations, an element not used often in past thermodynamics texts, is explored due to its importance in today's world
  • Theoretical integration of statistical mechanics and thermodynamics

New to this Edition:

  • Several chapters have been expanded and new ones added in order to incorporate the latest developments in the field
  • Massieu functions {Legendre transforms of the entropy) have been introduced to enable a consistent discussion of negative temperatures
  • A new numerical method for calculating the properties of a Bose-Einstein and Fermi-Dirac gases has been added

An Introduction to Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics returns with a second edition which includes new chapters, further explorations, and updated information into the study of statistical mechanics and thermal dynamics.
The first part of the book derives the entropy of the classical ideal gas, using only classical statistical mechanics and an analysis of multiple systems first suggested by Boltzmann. The properties of the entropy are then expressed as "postulates" of thermodynamics in the second part of the book. From these postulates, the formal structure of thermodynamics is developed.
The third part of the book introduces the canonical and grand canonical ensembles, which are shown to facilitate calculations for many model systems. An explanation of irreversible phenomena that is consistent with time-reversal invariance in a closed system is presented.
The fourth part of the book is devoted to quantum statistical mechanics, including black-body radiation, the harmonic solid, Bose-Einstein and Fermi-Dirac statistics, and an introduction to band theory, including metals, insulators, and semiconductors. The final chapter gives a brief introduction to the theory of phase transitions.
Throughout the book, there is a strong emphasis on computational methods to make abstract concepts more concrete.


Part 1 Entropy
2: The Classical Ideal Gas
3: Discrete Probability Theory
4: The Classical Ideal Gas: Configurational Entropy
5: Continuous Random Numbers
6: The Classical Ideal Gas: Energy-Dependence of Entropy
7: Classical Gasses: Ideal and Otherwise
8: Temperature Pressure, Chemical Potential, and All That
Part 2 Thermodynamics
9: The Postulates and Laws of Thermodynamics
10: Perturbations of Thermodynamic State Functions
11: Thermodynamics Processes
12: Thermodynamic Potentials
13: The Consequences of Extensivity
14: Thermodynamic Identities
15: Extremum Principles
16: Stability Conditions
17: Phase Transitions
18: The Nernst Postulate: the Third Law of Thermodynamics
Part 3 Classical Statistical Mechanics
19: Ensembles in Classical Statistical Mechanics
20: Classical Ensembles: Grand and Otherwise
21: Refining the Definition of Entropy
22: Irreversibility
Part 4 Quantum Statistical Mechanics
23: Quantum Ensembles
24: Quantum Canonical Ensemble
25: Black-Body Radiation
26: The Harmonic Solid
27: Ideal Quantum Gases
28: Bose-Einstein Statistics
29: Fermi-Dirac Statistics
30: Insulators and Semiconductors
31: Phase Transitions and the Ising Model
Appendix: Computer Calculations and VPython


Robert Swendsen, Emeritus Professor, Physics Department, Carnegie Mellon University
Robert Swendsen received his BS from Yale and his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. He did postdoctoral work at the Universität zu Köln, Germany, the Kernforschungsanlage in Jülich, Germany, and Brookhaven National Laboratory. From 1978 to 1984 he worked at the IBM Zurich Research Center. In 1984, he joined Carnegie Mellon University. He is a Fellow of both the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was given an IBM Outstanding Achievement Award in 1981 and shared a Forefronts of Large-Scale Computational Problems Award with S. Kumar, J.M. Rosenberg, and P.A. Kollman in 1991. He was awarded the 2014 Aneesur Rahman Prize for Computational Physics and the 2014 Julius Ashkin Teaching Award in the Mellon College of Science at Carnegie Mellon University.

Review from previous edition 
In his innovative new text, Carnegie Mellon University physics professor Robert Swendsen presents the foundations of statistical mechanics with, as he puts it, a detour through thermodynamics. That's a desirable strategy because the statistical approach is more fundamental than the classical thermodynamics approach and has many applications to current research problems. [] The mathematical notation is carefully introduced and useful; the selected mathematical techniques are clearly explained in a conversational style that both graduate and advanced undergraduate students will find easy to follow. The author's subject organization and conceptual viewpoint address some of the shortcomings of conventional developments of thermal physics and will be helpful to students and researchers seeking a deep appreciation of statistical physics." - Physics Today, August 2013

"Bob Swendsen's book is very well thought out, educationally sound, and more original than other texts." - Jan Tobochnik, Kalamazoo College, USA

"Robert Swendsen is a well-respected researcher who has developed many novel algorithms that illustrate his deep understanding of statistical mechanics. His textbook reflects his deep understanding and will likely have a major impact on the way statistical mechanics and thermodynamics is taught. Particularly noteworthy is Swendsen's treatment of entropy, following Boltzmann's original definition in terms of probability, and his comprehensive discussion of the fundamental principles and applications of statistical mechanics and thermodynamics. Students and instructors will enjoy reading the book as much as Swendsen obviously enjoyed writing it." - Harvey Gould, Clark University, USA

"In this reader-friendly, excellent text, the author provides a unique combination of the best of two worlds: traditional thermodynamics (following Callen's footsteps) and modern statistical mechanics (including VPython codes for simulations)." - Royce Zia, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA

"Swendsen is famous for developing Monte Carlo algorithms which dramatically speed up the simulation of many systems near a phase transition. The ideas for those algorithms required deep understanding of statistical mechanics, an understanding which is now fully applied to this excellent textbook." - Peter Young, University of California, USA