Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics:  by F.  Reif
651 pages, $127.95 list
1-57766-612-7
978-1-57766-612-7
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Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics
All macroscopic systems consist ultimately of atoms obeying the laws of quantum mechanics. That premise forms the basis for this comprehensive text, intended for a first upper-level course in statistical and thermal physics. Reif emphasizes that the combination of microscopic concepts with some statistical postulates leads readily to conclusions on a purely macroscopic level. The author’s writing style and penchant for description energize interest in condensed matter physics as well as provide a conceptual grounding with information that is crystal clear and memorable.

Reif first introduces basic probability concepts and statistical methods used throughout all of physics. Statistical ideas are then applied to systems of particles in equilibrium to enhance an understanding of the basic notions of statistical mechanics, from which derive the purely macroscopic general statements of thermodynamics. Next, he turns to the more complicated equilibrium situations, such as phase transformations and quantum gases, before discussing nonequilibrium situations in which he treats transport theory and dilute gases at varying levels of sophistication. In the last chapter, he addresses some general questions involving irreversible processes and fluctuations.

A large amount of material is presented to facilitate students’ later access to more advanced works, to allow those with higher levels of curiosity to read beyond the minimum given on a topic, and to enhance understanding by presenting several ways of looking at a particular question. Formatting within the text either signals material that instructors can assign at their own discretion or highlights important results for easy reference to them. Additionally, by solving many of the 230 problems contained in the text, students activate and embed their knowledge of the subject matter.
Reactions
“Waveland has done a fine job in reissuing this classic text. Especially useful for instructors is the disc with Knacke’s solutions to Reif’s homework problems.” — Bernard Weinstein, SUNY Buffalo

“This is a wonderful textbook that is pedagogically sound and provides a gentle introduction to statistical reasoning in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. The introduction of the microscopic approach to appreciate thermodynamics is noteworthy. The textbook will adequately serve both undergraduates and beginning graduate students.” — Dilip Asthagiri, Johns Hopkins University
Table of Contents
1. Introduction to Statistical Methods
Random Walk and Binomial Distribution / General Discussion of the Random Walk

2. Statistical Description of Systems of Particles
Statistical Formulation of the Mechanical Problem / Interaction between Macroscopic Systems

3. Statistical Thermodynamics
Irreversibility and the Attainment of Equilibrium / Thermal Interaction between Macroscopic Systems / General Interaction between Macroscopic Systems / Summary of Fundamental Results

4. Macroscopic Parameters and Their Measurement

5. Simple Applications of Macroscopic Thermodynamics
Properties of Ideal Gases / General Relations for a Homogeneous Substance / Free Expansion and Throttling Processes / Heat Engines and Refrigerators

6. Basic Methods and Results of Statistical Mechanics
Ensembles Representative of Situations of Physical Interest / Approximation Methods / Generalizations and Alternative Approaches

7. Simple Applications of Statistical Mechanics
General Method of Approach / Ideal Monatomic Gas / The Equipartition Theorem / Paramagnetism / Kinetic Theory of Dilute Gases in Equilibrium

8. Equilibrium between Phases or Chemical Species
General Equilibrium Conditions / Equilibrium between Phases / Systems with Several Components; Chemical Equilibrium

9. Quantum Statistics of Ideal Gases
Maxwell-Boltzmann, Bose-Einstein, and Fermi-Dirac Statistics / Ideal Gas in the Classical Limit / Black-Body Radiation / Conduction Electrons in Metals

10. Systems of Interacting Particles
Solids / Nonideal Classical Gas / Ferromagnetism

11. Magnetism and Low Temperatures

12. Elementary Kinetic Theory of Transport Processes

13. Transport Theory Using the Relaxation Time Approximation

14. Near-Exact Formulation of Transport Theory

15. Irreversible Processes and Fluctuations
Transition Probabilities and Master Equation / Simple Discussion of Brownian Motion / Detailed Analysis of Brownian Motion / Calculation of Probability Distributions / Fourier Analysis of Random Functions / General Discussion of Irreversible Processes