UE Statistical physics

Degrees incorporating this pedagocial element :


This course has several objectives: [A] learn how to calculate the properties of a gas from its microscopic description in the context of kinetic theory, [B] understand the formalism of the different ensembles of statistical physics, [C] learn how to manipulate these ensembles to describe the macroscopic properties of perfect and real gases, liquids and solids, [D] understand the importance of the indiscernibility of particles and master the quantum statistical framework, and lastly [E] understand the emergence of important quantum effects in fermion, boson and photon gases.

It is based on the following plan:

  1. Chap I: Introduction (from micro to macro, N-body problem, historical benchmarks)
  2. Chap II: Kinetic theory of gases. Distribution; Initial microscopic approach (temperature, pressure, effusion, transport coefficients)
  3. Chap III: Classical statistics. Perfect gases; paramagnetism; frozen systems; adsorption (Langmuir; Brunauer, Emmett & Teller); solids (Einstein, Debye)
  4. Chap IV: Real gases. Viriel; phase transitions (critical opalescence, phase coexistence, spinodal, critical point)
  5. Chap V: Quantum statistics Derivation of Bose-Einstein and Fermi-Dirac distributions; fermion gases (conduction electrons in metal, helium-3, white dwarfs, photoelectric effect); boson gases (Bose-Einstein condensation, thermodynamics between phases, helium-4 - fountain effect); photon gases (microscopic black-body theory, Planck's law, absorption and emission, thermodynamics of radiation (greenhouse effect, fossil radiation))


It is highly recommended for students to have followed a Statistical Physics module in the Physics bachelor (L3) course. 

Targeted skills

Physique Statistique, R. Balian, Edition Ecole Polytechnique

Physique Statistique, B. Diu, C. Guthmann, D. Lederer, B. Roulet, Edition Hermann

Physique Statistique, R. Zitoun, L. Couture, Edition Ellipses

Cours de Physique Statistique, E. Brunet, C. Lhuillier, http://www.lps.ens.fr/~ebrunet/

Mécanique Quantique,  C. Cohen-Tannoudji, B. Diu, F. Laloé, Edition Hermann

Physique Statistique, L.D. Landau et E.M. Lifshitz

Statistical Mechanics, Kerson Huang, Wiley Ed.

The ideal Bose gaz, Lev Pitaevskii et Sandro Stringari, Oxford science publications

Statistical Physics, F. Reif, Berkeley physics, course, vol. 5, edition Mc Grawhill