Dartmouth College PHYSICS 43 Fall 1995

A Selection of Books on Statistical Physics and Thermodynamics

(Books marked with an * are on reserve)

Most texts take one of two approaches.

  1. The historic approach is to develop the laws of thermodynamics as a self consistent phenomenological theory, leading to a good intuition for the macroscopic principles, and a skill in solving many real world problems. Once the thermodynamic theory is complete, the microscopic origin of these empirical laws are explained through statistical mechanics.

  2. An integrated approach is taken, developing the laws of thermodynamics along side of their microscopic interpretation. This has aesthetic appeal to the physicist who wants to get to the bottom of why the world behaves as it does. Our text takes this approach.

*Born,M, Natural Philosophy of Cause and Chance (Oxford, 1951) QC/6/B645n
Ch. 5-7. Interesting section on discovery of Planck's law by a master of physics.

Callen,H.B., Thermodynamics and an introduction to thermostatistics 2nd ed. (Wiley, 1985) QC/311/C25/1985.
An excellent treatment of thermodynamics, followed by a shorter section on its statistical mechanical underpinning.

Crawford, F. W. Heat, Thermodynamics, and Statistical Physics (Harcourt, 1963) QC/254/C7

*Feynman, R.P., Fennman Lectures, V1 (Addison Wesley, 1966) QC/23/F47
Ch. 39-46 of Volume 1 are relevant to this course, but the whole series is highly recommended for any aspiring physicist. Good insight, frequently a unique point of view.

Gibbs, J. Willard, Statistical Mechanics (OxBow Press 1981 reprint of 1901 classic) QC/174.8/.G52/1981/cop.1.
Gives a flavor of how far statistical mechanics had developed by the turn of the century. Written by the brilliant American scientist who first applied the ergodic postulate (and the chemical potential).

Goodstein, D.L. States of Matter (Prentice-Hall, 1975) QC/173.3/G66
Good section on phase transitions.

*Guenault, T. Statistical Physics (Routledge, 1988) QC/174.8/G84/1988
An excellent and concise book, but it assumes a prior knowledge of thermodynamics. The excellent companion book, Thermal Physics by C. B. P. Finn is currently not in the Dartmouth library.

Huang, K. Statistical Mechanics 2nd ed.(Wiley, c1987) QC/174.8/H83/1987
A good text at a much more advanced level than P43. Includes a nice review of classical thermodynamics, and a good treatment of transport (non-equlibrium situations).

*Kittel, C. Elementary Statistical Mechanics (Wiley, 1958) QC/175/K652e

*Kittel and Kroemer Thermal Physics (Freeman, 1980) QC/311.5/K52/1980
An introduction at about our level. Occasionally oversimplified. Text for P43 in 1993.

Landau,L and Lifshitz, E.M. Statistical Physics (Pergamon 1980) QC/174.8/L3613/1980
A classic but at a more advanced level than this course.

*Lay, J. E. Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics of Matter, An Introductory Survey (Harper & Row, 1990) (personal copy on reserve)

A good introduction at the level of Mandl, but with a broader coverage and a stronger materials emphasis. Also includes sections on information theory, fluctuations, fluids, transport, Monte Carlo simulation, and semiconductor devices.

Leff, H. S. and Rex, A. F. Maxwell's Demon-- Entropy, Information, Computing (Princeton Unversityh Press, 1990) QC/318/M35/M38/1990
An interesting collection of articles covering a wide range of topics from the challenges to the second law of thermodynamics to fundamental limits in the size and speed of computers.

*Mandl, F. Statistical Physics, 2nd ed. (Wiley, c1988) QC/174.8/M27/1988
Our text for P43. It does an excellent job of combining equilibrium statistical mechanics and thermodynamics. At the level of Reif's Fundamentals, but a somewhat cleaner treatment.

Nash, L. K. Elements of Statistical Thermodynamics (Addison Wesley, 1970) QC/311/N3

*Pippard, A. B. The Elements of Classical Thermodynamics (Cambridge, 1957)QC/311/P662e
A classic treatment of thermodynamic phenomena without reference to their a statistical origin.

Reif, F. Statistical Physics (McGraw-Hill, c1965) QC/21/B4445/v.5
Introduction at a more elementary level than P43. Probably the least exciting of the Berkeley physics series (the Waves and E&M books in this series are superb).

*Reif, F. Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics (McGraw Hill, 1965) QC/175/R43
Covers a wider range of subjects than our text, but somewhat at the expense of a cohesive story. Old (1965), but probably the most widely used text (used here for many years prior to '91).

*Reichl, L. E. A modern course in statistical physics (University of Texas Press, 1980). QC/174.8/R44
More advanced than our text, but well written and introductory sections are good as a review. Segregates thermodynamics and SM. Includes interesting modern topics.

Sklar, Lawrence. Physics and Chance: philosophical issues in the foundations of statistical mechanics (Cambridge University Press, 1993) QC/174.8/S55/1993
Fascinating account of historical and contemporary research on philosophical issues of SM, such as the direction of time, Maxwell and Loschmidt demons, cosmology, ergodicity, ... Quite accessible at the level of this course. Deep arguments, but few equations.

E. Schrodinger Statistical Thermodynamics (Cambridge,1952) QC/311/S38/1952
A 1944 seminar series one of the original thinkers in quantum mechanics.

M. W. Zemansky Heat and Thermodynamics 6th ed. (McGraw-Hill, c1981) QC/254.2/Z45/18981