Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

PHSI421 Statistical Mechanics

Advanced thermodynamics; equilibrium theory of many-particle systems; quantum ideal gas: Bose-Einstein condensation and free electrons; interacting systems and phase transitions.

Paper title Statistical Mechanics
Paper code PHSI421
Subject Physics
EFTS 0.0833
Points 10 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $685.39
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

^ Top of page

Limited to
BSc(Hons), PGDipSci, MSc
Teaching staff
Dr Philip Brydon
An introduction to thermal physics, Daniel V. Schroeder, Addison Wesley Longman
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
After completing this paper students are expected to have achieved the following major learning objectives:
  • Define and use free energies, be able to derive their thermodynamic identities, and extract information from thermodynamic partial derivative relations
  • Understand the thermodynamics of systems undergoing a phase transition, with a detailed knowledge of the phase diagram of the van der Waals model
  • Be able to define and apply the microcanonical, canonical and grand canonical ensembles appropriately and understand the statistical basis for thermodynamic equilibrium
  • Derive thermodynamic properties from a microscopic description of standard systems (e.g. ideal paramagnet, Einstein solid, ideal gas)
  • Be able to apply the equipartition theorem and understand its regime of validity
  • Be able to explain the effect indistinguishability has on the statistical properties of matter; derive and apply the quantum distribution functions
  • Apply the appropriate quantum statistical method to calculate the thermal properties of the standard quantum systems: an ideal Fermi gas, photons in a cavity, and an ideal Bose gas; derive and apply the appropriate density of states for these systems
  • Solve the Ising model using the mean-field approximation

^ Top of page


Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system