Skip to content

Module Catalogue

Breadcrumbs navigation

PH3012   Thermal and Statistical Physics

Academic year(s): 2018-2019

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 15

ECTS credits : 7

Level : SCQF level 9

Semester: 2

Planned timetable: 12.00 noon odd Mon, Wed, Fri, 2.00 pm even Tue (TBC)

The aim of this module is to cover at honours level the principles and most important applications of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. The syllabus includes: equilibrium; the equation of state; the classical perfect gas; discussion of experimental results that lead to the three laws of thermodynamics; idealised reversible engines; the Clausius inequality; the classical concept of entropy and its connection to equilibrium; thermodynamic potentials; Maxwell's relations; open systems and the chemical potential; phase transitions and the Clausius-Clapeyron equation for first order transitions; higher order phase transitions; the connection between statistical physics and thermodynamics; the Boltzmann form for the entropy; microstates and macrostates; the statistics of distinguishable particles; the Boltzmann distribution; the partition function; statistical definition of the entropy and Helmholtz free energy; statistical mechanics of two-level systems; energy levels and degeneracy; quantum statistics: Bose-Einstein and Fermi-Dirac distributions; density of states; black-body radiation; Bose-Einstein condensation; Fermi energy; quantum gases and the classical limit; Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution; equipartition of energy; negative temperatures.

Relationship to other modules

Pre-requisite(s): Before taking this module you must pass 4 modules from {PH2011, PH2012, MT2501, MT2503} and ( pass at least 1 module from {PH3081, PH3082} or pass 2 modules from {MT2506, MT2507} )

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 3 lectures or tutorials.

Scheduled learning hours: 36

Guided independent study hours: 114

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: 2-hour Written Examination = 80%, Coursework = 20%

As defined by QAA
Written examinations : 80%
Practical examinations : 0%
Coursework: 20%

Re-assessment: Oral Re-assessment, capped at grade 7


Module teaching staff: Prof S Lee and Dr I Leonhardt

Additional information from school

Please see also the information in the School's Handbook for Honours modules available via This link also gives access to timetables for the modules.