Details of PH2202 (Spring 2017)

Level: 2 Type: Theory Credits: 2.0

Course CodeCourse NameInstructor(s)
PH2202 Thermal Physics Bhavtosh Bansal

This is an intermediate course in physics. It will provide students with an introduction to basics thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. This will build upon the basics of thermodynamics as taught in CH1201 and elementary probability and statistics taught in MA1201. The statistical mechanics part of the course will rely primarily on counting based arguments rather than the more abstract concept of ensembles.


  • Review of Thermodynamics: 0th, 1st, 2nd laws, Entropy, TdS relationships, Carnot cycle, Legendre transform and thermodynamic potentials, Gibbs phase rules, Gibbs free energy and phase

  • Statistical Mechanics: Introduction -- the need for a Statistical approach to thermodynamics.

    • Random processes. Coin tossing and the drunkard's walk. Binomial distribution. Stirling's approximation for the factorial. The normal distribution.

    • Boltzmann's hypothesis S = k logW . Application to a system of non-interacting spins.

    • Identical particles and indistinguishability. Counting of distributions for noninteracting
      distinguishable and indistinguishable particles, Derivation of the Maxwell-Boltzmann, Fermi-Dirac
      and Bose-Einstein statistics.

    • Simple Applications of MB, FD and BE statistics.


  1. H. B. Callen, Thermodynamics and an Introduction to Thermostatistics, Wiley (1985)

  2. A. M. Glazer and J. C. Wark, Statistical Mechanics : A Survival Guide, Oxford University Press (2001)

  3. D. V. Schroeder, An Introduction to Thermal Physics, Addison-Wesley (1999)

Course Credit Options

Sl. No.ProgrammeSemester NoCourse Choice
1 IP 2 Not Allowed
2 IP 4 Not Allowed
3 IP 6 Not Allowed
4 MR 2 Not Allowed
5 MR 4 Not Allowed
6 MS 4 Core
7 RS 1 Not Allowed
8 RS 2 Not Allowed