Statistical Physics


One of the goal of this course will be to reconstruct the classical thermodynamics, defining in particular, rigorously, entropy and temperature. This will be possible using the well-known and rigorous laws of classical or quantum mechanics at the microscopic level, statistical results and two characteristic "postulates" of statistical physics. This "reconstruction" leads to a deeper understanding of the statistical nature of the laws of thermodynamics. Once this goal achieved, the tools developed will be used to examine a wide range of interesting and "simple" problems:
Paramagnetism (and Ferromagnetism)
Ideal gas laws
Electrons in solids (Fermi-Dirac statistics)
Black body radiation (Bose-Einstein statistic)
Superconductivity and Superfluidity



General characterization





Responsible teacher

Gregoire Marie Jean Bonfait


Weekly - 4

Total - 56

Teaching language



Mechanics, Thermodynamics


Casquilho, J.P e Cortez Teixeira P.I.., Introdução à Física Estatística,  IST Press, Coleção Ensino da Ciência e da Tecnologia (2011)

Hand written notes of Prof Bonfait

Mandl, Statistical Physics, 2nd edition (Wyley, 1988)

Higher level: Reif, F., Statistical and Thermal Physics (McGraw-Hill, 1985).

Teaching method

Exposition of the "theory" for 45 min. On blackborad only (almost)

Application exercises during the rest of the class. The first exercises are very "basic" in order to clarify and stabilize the concepts introduced during the first part of the lesson.

  During these two parts, questions are made to probe and correct (mis-) understanding that students have about some phenomena.

Evaluation method

The student must be present at 2/3 of the sessions.

2 Tests. Final classification is the mean values of the 2 classifications.

Second chance: exame

Subject matter

1.Random Walk. Probability and statistics

2. Fundamentals of Thermodynamics.

3. Microcanonical statistics.

4. Canonical statistics

5 The Perfect classical Gas

6. Grande Canonical statistics. Quantum statistics

7. Sommerfeld model for electrons in metals



Programs where the course is taught: