Statistical Physics and Thermodynamics

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content


The course is an extension of the corresponding topics in PHYS113 and the objective is to give the students a thorough understanding of the theory and methods of statistical physics and thermodynamics.



The course covers the Gibbs ensemble formulation of statistical thermodynamics, both in classical and quantum formalism: applications for gases, chemical reactions, binary molecular systems, magnetization, electron gas and photon gas. The thermodynamics of mixtures and multi-phase systems will be discussed, along with examples of phase transitions and phase diagrams. Examples will be given on the use of statistical physics to describe the macroscopic properties of a system with a large number of particles from the microscopic properties of the particles that the system consists of. Statistical physics is widely applied e.g. in astrophysics, condensed matter physics, and fluid theory.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course

the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:



The student

  • Has thorough knowledge on different classical and quantum mechanical distribution functions
  • Can explain the procedures for deriving the relation between thermodynamic parameters such as pressure, temperature, entropy and heat capacity from the distribution functions.
  • Can explain phase transitions and magnetization in magnetic systems



The student

  • Can apply the theory on different types of gasses: ideal classic, diatomic, quantum Fermi gasses such as quarks, electrons or baryons, quantum Bose gases such as photons, gluons or mesons.
  • Can analyze phase diagrams, phase transitions and explain the concept of latent heat


General competence

The student

  • Can apply the methods of statistical physics in other fields of physics and related fields.



Semester of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Basic knowledge of minimum 60 ECTS in physics.
Recommended Previous Knowledge
PHYS 119 and PHYS201
Forms of Assessment
Oral examination.
Grading Scale
The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.