Chemistry 534

Chemical Statistical Mechanics

Fall 2015

Textbook:   Recommended: Statistical Mechanics, by D.A. McQuarrie (University Science);   Statistical Mechanics, by N. Davidson (Dover); Introduction to Modern Statistical Mechanics, by D. Chandler (Oxford)

Instructor:  Prof. Kirk Peterson (335-7867, Fulmer 104B)

Schedule:    TTh 12-1:15 in Todd 202

Office hrs:  by arrangement

Syllabus:   here

Tentative Schedule     

Lecture Topics and Homework
Aug 24
Ensembles, Probabilities, Probability distributions, Boltzmann distribution
HW #1 here  (due Thurs., Sept. 3rd at beginning of class); Solutions
Aug 31
previous week's topics continued
Sept. 7
Canonical partition function, ensemble averages, thermodynamic connections, fluctuations
HW #2 here (due Tues, Sept. 15th); Solutions
Sept. 14
Ideal gases: Boltzmann statistics, molecular partition functions; HW #3 here (due Thurs., Sept. 24th); Solutions
Sept. 21
Diatomic and polyatomic partition functions; HW #4 here (due Thurs., Oct. 8th); Solutions
Sept. 28
more on polyatomic molecule partition functions
Oct. 5
Oct. 12
Exam 1 (Tues.); Solutions
ideal gas partition functions continued; HW #5 here (due Tues., Oct. 27th); Solutions
Oct. 19
Chemical Equilibria
Oct. 26
ideal solids  (harmonic crystals, Rayleigh-Jeans, Debye theory); HW #6 here (due Tues., Nov. 3); Solutions
Nov. 2
classical statistical mechanics (phase space averages, equipartition theorem); HW #7 here (due Tues., Nov. 17th); Solutions
Nov. 9
the grand canonical partition function; non-ideal gases (virial expansion, intermolecular potentials)
Nov. 16
Exam 2 (Thurs.); Solutions
Real gases continued; HW #8 here (due Thurs., Dec. 3); Solutions
Nov. 23
Thanksgiving break
Nov. 30
Liquids (molecular dynamics, Monte Carlo)
Dec. 7
 Quantum ideal gases (Bose-Einstein and Fermi-Dirac statistics); HW #9 here
  Dec. 17 (8:00 - 10am)

FINAL EXAM (cumulative)


2 exams 500
homework 200
final exam 300
total 1000

Scale (broad strokes):

850 - 1000  A
650 - 800    B
< 600          C

Additional Resources

Academic Integrity: I encourage you to work with classmates on homework assignments. However, each student must turn in original work. No copying will be accepted (this includes copying from textbooks or prior semester homeworks). Students who violate WSU’s Policy on Academic Integrity will receive an F as a final grade in this course.

Students with Disabilities:
Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. If you have a disability and may need accommodations to fully participate in this class, please visit the Access Center. All accommodations MUST be approved through them (Washington Building, Room 217). Please stop by or call them at 509-335-3417 to make an appointment with a disability specialist