UCSB PHYS 119a - Mechanics (8 pages)

Previewing pages 1, 2, 3 of 8 page document View the full content.
View Full Document

Mechanics



Previewing pages 1, 2, 3 of actual document.

View the full content.
View Full Document
View Full Document

Mechanics

41 views


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

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 related to energy production and a large number of industrial processes 1 Analysis of chemical reactions and biological systems This is a vast area with many applications of thermal physics Astrophysics properties of stars and black holes Condensed matter physics this is a huge area and thermal physics plays an important role in the understanding many systems of interest For example the electrons in a semiconductor behave like a quantum gas Noise in electronics part of the noise in electronic devices has a thermal origin so thermodynamics is relevant in the design of low noise circuits Information theory and computing many of the concepts of thermal physics are relevant to information transfer and to the understanding the ultimate performance of computers You could almost write a history of civilization from the perspective of how people have been able to control and utilize termperature and energy A Note on Teaching Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics can be taught from several different points of view Some people like to keep the two approaches entirely separate which tends to emphasize the power and generality of thermodynamics Others like the deep insights from Statistical Mechanics and they tend to downplay the viewpoint of Thermodynamics Still others like to mix the two subjects together without any clear distinction at all Some people have very strong feelings on how the subject ought to be taught and there are big arguments about how best to teach it The textbooks by Baierlein and Schroeder are from the modern school which mixes Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics without making much of a distinction between them Although I like both books I find that the authors have gone a bit too far in this respect Apart from my first couple of lectures here is my basic plan of Physics 119a After a couple of lectures of general introduction I will present and discuss the postulates of classical thermodynamics this is the approach of Callen which I find provides a very helpful framework in organizing the basics of thermodynamics so that it isn t just a lot of little bits and pieces It is however a bit abstract You will see very quickly how the big pieces fit together even though you won t completely understand each of these big pieces This takes several lectures Statistical mechanics approach microscopic to entropy Statistical mechanics really shines here giving us a deep understanding of the concept of entropy Treatment of cyclic process in thermodynamics here we look at various types of engines mainly from an idealized viewpoint Statistical Mechanics powerful tools to solve problems examples from quantum systems 2 More development of thermodynamics alternative formulations and more examples As we go back and forth between thermodynamics and statistical mechanics I will make it clear which approach we developing I will let you be the judge of whether my teaching method is successful Notice also that I will be discussing some quantum systems If you have already had quantum mechanics it will help but it shouldn t be necessary You might also wonder why we have two textbooks I found each to have strong and weak points Baierlein s book is more theoretical and in a certain way is a bit more advanced It has some clever arguments but is short on interesting real world examples Schroeder s book on the other hand is full of great problems and examples but seems a bit less well organized on the theoretical concepts I read a book review in Physics Today Online that concluded I stongly recommend that instructors adopt one of these two texts Baierlein and Schroeder for their undergraduate courses on thermal physics They are beautifully writen and convey the feeling that physics is a discipline to be studied with devotion and love Wow If you can afford only one of the books I think that I will be following Baierlein more closely But there will certainly be problems and reading assigned from both books How to Succeed in This Class Thermal physics is a difficult subject with many abstact concepts and a fair number of mathematical tools that may be new to you Here are some specific suggestions on how to do well in Ph 119a 1 As for most physics classes the single most important thing is to do the problem sets as well and as carefully as you can You have to grapple with thermal physics yourself 2 Important note copying of other people s homework solutions is strictly not allowed It s perfectly


View Full Document

Access the best Study Guides, Lecture Notes and Practice Exams

Loading Unlocking...
Login

Join to view Mechanics and access 3M+ class-specific study document.

or
We will never post anything without your permission.
Don't have an account?
Sign Up

Join to view Mechanics and access 3M+ class-specific study document.

or

By creating an account you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use

Already a member?