Introductory Statistical Thermodynamics is a text for an introductory one-semester course in statistical thermodynamics for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students in physics and engineering. The book offers a high level of detail in derivations of all equations and results. This information is necessary for students to grasp difficult concepts in physics that are needed to move on to higher level courses. The text is elementary, self contained, and mathematically well-founded, containing a number of problems with detailed solutions to help students to grasp the more difficult theoretical concepts.

Key Features

  • Beginning chapters place an emphasis on quantum mechanics
  • Includes problems with detailed solutions and a number of detailed theoretical derivations at the end of each chapter
  • Provides a high level of detail in derivations of all equations and results


Upper-level undergraduates, and graduate students of physics and engineering.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction
2 Introduction and Basic Concepts
2.1 Systems of Identical Particles
2.2 Quantum Description of Particles
2.3 Problems with Solutions
3 Kinetic energy of Translational Motion
3.1 Hamiltonian of Translational Motion
3.2 Schrödinger Equation for Translational Motion
3.4 Normalization of the Wave function
3.5 Quantized Energy of Translational Motion
3.6 Problems with Solutions
4 Energy of Vibrations
4.1 Hamiltonian of Vibrations
4.2 Solution of the Schrödinger equation
4.3 Quantized Energy of Vibrations
4.4 Hermite Polynomials
4.5 Normalization of the Wave Function
4.6 Problems with Solutions
5 Kinetic Energy of Rotations
5.1 Hamiltonian of Rotations
5.1.1 Kinetic Energy and Hamiltonian Operator
5.1.2 Angular Momentum Operator
5.2 Solution of the Schrödinger equation
5.3 Quantized Energy of Rotations
5.4 Legendre Polynomials
5.5 Normalization of the Wave function
5.6 Spin Angular Momentum
5.7 Problems with Solutions
6 Number of accessible states and Entropy
6.1 Introduction and Definitions
6.2 Calculation of the Number of accessible States
6.2.1 Classical Number of Accessible States
6.2.2 Number of Accessible States for Bosons
6.2.3 Number of Accessible States for Fermions
6.3 Problems with Solutions
7 Equilibrium States of Systems
7.1 Equilibrium Conditions
7.2 Occupation Numbers of Energy Levels
7.3 Concept of Temperature
7.4 Problems with Solutions
8 Thermodynamic Variables
8.1 Free Energy and the Partition Function
8.2 Internal Energy. Caloric State Equation
8.3 Pressure. Thermal State Equation
8.4 Classification of Thermodynamic Variables
8.5 Problems with Solutions
9 Macroscopic Thermodynamics
9.1 Changes of States. Heat and Work
9.2.1 Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics
9.2.2 First Law of Thermodynamics
9.2.3 Second Law of Ther


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© 2011
Academic Press
eBook ISBN:
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About the authors

Nils Dalarsson

Nils Dalarsson has been with the Royal Institute of Technology, Department of Theoretical Physics in Stockholm, Sweden, since 1999. His research and teaching experience spans 32 years. Former academic and private sector affiliations include University of Virginia, Uppsala University, FSB Corporation, France Telecom Corporation, Ericsson Corporation, and ABB Corporation. He holds a PhD in Theoretical Physics, an MSc in Engineering Physics, and an MSc in Education.

Affiliations and Expertise

Royal Institute of Technology, Department of Theoretical Physics, Stockholm, Sweden


"The book is intended as a text for an introductory course in statistical thermodynamics for undergraduate students of physical sciences or engineering. Parts of the material may be useful as well for a graduate course. The book is quite detailed in explicit derivations of all equations and results, followed by a number of fully solved problems/exercises that illustrate theoretical concepts discussed throughout the book. An introductory chapter contains some very basic quantum mechanical background. The second chapter contains derivations of basic notions of classical statistical mechanics, together with a discussion of general laws of macroscopic thermodynamics. The third chapter addresses various applications to physically interesting cases of ideal and non-ideal gases. In the last chapter, a discussion of basic concepts of quantum statistical physics (quantum gases) is followed by a brief discussion of relativistic phenomena."--Zentralblatt Math 1225-1

"This book is an excellent introduction to statistical thermodynamics, which covers the fundamental physical concepts used for the macroscopic description of systems with very large number of particles in thermo-dynamic equilibrium. Also the macroscopic concepts used in this book, are shown to be connected to the appropriate microscopic theories. However, in the literature, statistical thermodynamics is frequently introduced purely from macroscopic point of view. But in general the macroscopic description is largely independent on the details of the microscopic models describing the interactions of the particle in various physical systems. So learning the connection between microscopic and macroscopic concept will definitely enhance the understanding of the subject to great extent…I recommend this book as one of the most lucidly written introductory texts on Statistical Thermodynamics."--Contemporary Physics