Syllabus for Statistical Mechanics

Statistisk mekanik


  • 5 credits
  • Course code: 1FA140
  • Education cycle: First cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Physics G2F
  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
  • Established: 2009-03-12
  • Established by:
  • Revised: 2018-08-30
  • Revised by: The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
  • Applies from: week 30, 2019
  • Entry requirements: Mechanics III (analytical mechanics), Electromagnetism, Thermodynamics and Quantum Physics or equivalent.
  • Responsible department: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • give an account of the relevant quantities used to describe macroscopic systems, thermodynamic potentials and ensembles.
  • give an account of the macroscopic and microscopic description of temperature, entropy and free energy and their descriptions in terms of probabilities
  • give an account of the theory of statistical mechanics and the approximations making a statistical description possible
  • apply the theory to understand gases and crystals and in addition be able to construct microscopic models and from these derive thermodynamic observables
  • describe the importance and consequences of quantum mechanics for macroscopic particle systems
  • understand the strength and limitations of the models used and be able to compare different microscopic models
  • describe transport phenomena and show an understanding on how diffusion coefficients are computed
  • show an analytic ability to solve problems relevant to statistical mechanics


The course gives an introduction to statistical mechanics and some important applications. The course discusses how probability theory can be used to derive relations between the microscopic and macroscopic properties of matter.
Thermodynamic potentials. Phase space and distributions in phase space. Maxwell-Boltzmann distributions with applications. Statistical ensembles. Applications on crystals and gases. Quantum statistics, Bose-Einstein and Fermi-Dirac statistics, Bose-Einstein condensation. The basic theory for electrons in a metal. Transport phenomena.


Lectures and tutorials. Guest lecture.


Written examination at the end of the course. During the course there will be hand-in assignments. If solved correctly these will give points that can be used at the examinations (the regular and the following two re-examinations). 
If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the disability coordinator of the university.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: week 30, 2019

  • Mandl, F. Statistical physics

    2. ed.: Chichester: Wiley, cop. 1988

    Find in the library

  • Nordling, Carl; Österman, Jonny Physics handbook for science and engineering

    8., [rev.] ed.: Lund: Studentlitteratur, 2006

    Find in the library