UCSB PHYS 119a - Mechanics (8 pages)

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Mechanics



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Mechanics

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Pages:
8
School:
University of California, Santa Barbara
Course:
Phys 119a - Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics

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Physics 119a Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics Fall 2007 Professor Jeffrey D Richman Broida Hall 5111 893 8408 http hep ucsb edu people richman richman html richman charm physics ucsb edu Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics Thermodynamics and statistical mechanics are two closely related subjects of remarkable power and beauty We use the term thermal physics to encompass them both Thermal physics deals with energy and how it is stored and transferred in macroscopic systems Thermodynamics treats phenomena from a purely macroscopic point of view it makes no reference to atoms molecules or their properties In one sense this is a limitation but it is also a strength because it means that the framework of thermodynamics is extremely general and powerful Statistical mechanics on the other hand provides techniques and insights that are grounded in the microscopic properties and of matter It provides crucial links between the microscopic and macroscopic behavior Thermal physics has an extraordinary degree of relevance not only to modern physics but also to key issues confronting society Here are just a few examples of phenomena where the techniques of thermal physics are important Analysis of the Big Bang and the evolution of the universe the cosmic microwave background CMB radiation has a thermal origin and its properties provide some of the most important clues to the events occuring in the early universe Behavior of matter at low temperature at low temperature the quantum nature of matter can become manifest in amazing ways such as in the phenomena of superconductivity and superfluidity Thermal physics analyses are very important in these topics Impact of energy usage on global climate and ecological systems e g global warming This is a really important application Energy resources historically thermodynamics got much of its start when people tried to analyze and improve the performance of steam engines Today thermal physics is very relevant to many issues



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