PY 410 Statistical and Thermal Physics, Spring 2017


This is the website for PY 410, Statistical and Thermal Physics. This website will be updated with lecture notes and homework assignments.

Course information and syllabus pdf

Office Hours: Pankaj Mehta: Wed 3:30-4:30pm, SCI 323. Ching-Hao Wang: TBD

Instructor: Pankaj Mehta

Grader: Ching-Hao Wang (

Textbook: Entropy, Order Parametes, and Complexity by Jim Sethna. Available free here. The corresponding website is also a great resource we will use.

Programming:We will perform programming exercises Programming exercises will be performed in python. For Python (the preferred language for the class), I recommend the Anaconda distribution with the spyder IDE which can be downloaded here Please bring Laptops to class. You can get mathematica here.

Week 1-2
Notebook 1 Central Limit Theorem as python notebook and html
Homework 1: Probability I. Due February 7th. Please start early. pdf
Suggested Readings: Chapter 1, Chapter 2.1, any set of good notes on probability theory.

Week 3-4
Homework 2: Diffusion and Random Walks. Due February 23rd. Please start early. pdf
Suggested Readings: Chapter 2 of Sethna.

Week 4-7
Homework 3: Microcannical Ensemble, Entropy, Fundamental Thermodynamic Relation UPDATED. Due March 23 (new date). Please start early. This HW is long: 6 problems. There will be extra office hours March 20 from 10:00am-noon. pdf
Suggested Readings: Chapter 3,5 of Sethna.

Week 7-8
Homework 4: Free Energy and Thermodynamics UPDATED. Due March 30 pdf
Suggested Readings: Chapter 3,5,6 of Sethna.

Week 9-10
Homework 5: Partition Function Fun. Due April 13 pdf
Suggested Readings: Chapter 7 of Sethna and Chapter 6 of Gould and Tobochnik. Note all problems are from later readings this week.

Week 11-13
Homework 6: Monte-Carlo Methods pdf
Suggested Readings: Chapter 8 of Sethna and notes from Harvard.
Notebook for section. Metropolis-Hastings