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PX4012: STATISTICAL PHYSICS AND STOCHASTIC SYSTEMS (2020-2021)

Last modified: 05 Aug 2021 13:04


Course Overview

Statistical physics derives the phenomenological laws of thermodynamics from the probabilistic treatment of the underlying microscopic system.  Statistical physics, together with quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity, is a cornerstone in our modern understanding of the physical world. 

Through this course, you will gain a better understanding of fundamental physical concepts such as entropy and thermodynamic irreversibility, and you will learn how derive some simple thermodynamic properties of gases and solids.

The final part of the course is devoted to an introduction to stochastic systems, which are widely used in many different fields such as physics, biology and economics.





Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
Co-ordinators
  • Professor Antonio Politi

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Programme Level 4

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

What other courses must be taken with this course?

None.

What courses cannot be taken with this course?

  • PX4009 Solid State Physics (Studied)

Are there a limited number of places available?

No

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to statistical physics and simple stochastic processes. A brief review of thermodynamics is offered in the first lectures to set up the background needed to understand the foundations of statistical mechanics. The microcanonical and canonical ensembles are discussed in details and it is shown as thermodynamical irreversibility emerges statistically from reversible microscopic dynamics. Quantum statistics are also discussed. Applications are limited to non-interacting systems and include computing the specific heats of solids and of monoatomic and simple diatomic gases, blackbody radiation, Fermi gases and ferromagnetism. Ising magnetism is briefly discussed in mean field approximation.

In addition, the course gives an introduction to stochastic processes. We shall first discuss Brownian motion and random walks, introducing the concepts of Master and Fokker-Planck equations for one-dimensional random walks. This offers a simple context in which the central limit theorem can be introduced. Finally, we will discuss the principle of detailed balance as a necessary and sufficient condition for a system to be in thermodynamic equilibrium.






In light of Covid-19 this information is indicative and may be subject to change.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

  • 1 Tutorial during University weeks 9 - 18

More Information about Week Numbers


In light of Covid-19 and the move to blended learning delivery the assessment information advertised for second half-session courses may be subject to change. All updates for second-half session courses will be actioned in advance of the second half-session teaching starting. Please check back regularly for updates.

Summative Assessments

Exam

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 75
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

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Feedback
Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
Sorry, we don't have this information available just now. Please check the course guide on MyAberdeen or with the Course Coordinator

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 25
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

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Feedback

Feedback on assessments will be given within two weeks or receipt and immediately during classroom exercises.

Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
Sorry, we don't have this information available just now. Please check the course guide on MyAberdeen or with the Course Coordinator

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Resit Assessments

Exam

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 100
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

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Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
Sorry, we don't have this information available just now. Please check the course guide on MyAberdeen or with the Course Coordinator

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
FactualRememberILO’s for this course are available in the course guide.

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