Topics: Many Random Variables, Sums of Random Variables and the Central Limit Theorem, Rules for Large Numbers, Information, Entropy, and Estimation
This is a two-semester course on statistical mechanics. Basic principles examined in this course are: The laws of thermodynamics and the concepts of temperature, work, heat, and entropy, postulates of classical statistical mechanics, microcanonical, canonical, and grand canonical distributions; applications to lattice vibrations, ideal gas, photon gas, quantum statistical mechanics; Fermi and Bose systems, interacting systems: Cluster expansions, van der Waal's gas, and mean-field theory.
Topics from modern statistical mechanics are explored in the next course in this sequence, 8.334 Statistical Mechanics II. These include: The hydrodynamic limit and classical field theories; phase transitions and broken symmetries: Universality, correlation functions, and scaling theory; the renormalization approach to collective phenomena; dynamic critical behavior; random systems.