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Statistical and Thermal Physics:
With Computer Applications
Harvey Gould & Jan Tobochnik

Hardcover | 2010 | $115.00 | £95.95 | ISBN: 9780691137445
552 pp. | 7 x 10 | 105 line illus. 35 tables.
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This textbook carefully develops the main ideas and techniques of statistical and thermal physics and is intended for upper-level undergraduate courses. The authors each have more than thirty years' experience in teaching, curriculum development, and research in statistical and computational physics.

Statistical and Thermal Physics begins with a qualitative discussion of the relation between the macroscopic and microscopic worlds and incorporates computer simulations throughout the book to provide concrete examples of important conceptual ideas. Unlike many contemporary texts on thermal physics, this book presents thermodynamic reasoning as an independent way of thinking about macroscopic systems. Probability concepts and techniques are introduced, including topics that are useful for understanding how probability and statistics are used. Magnetism and the Ising model are considered in greater depth than in most undergraduate texts, and ideal quantum gases are treated within a uniform framework. Advanced chapters on fluids and critical phenomena are appropriate for motivated undergraduates and beginning graduate students.

  • Integrates Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics simulations as well as other numerical techniques throughout the text
  • Provides self-contained introductions to thermodynamics and statistical mechanics
  • Discusses probability concepts and methods in detail
  • Contains ideas and methods from contemporary research
  • Includes advanced chapters that provide a natural bridge to graduate study
  • Features more than 400 problems
  • Programs are open source and available in an executable cross-platform format
  • Solutions manual (available only to teachers)


"Typically . . . students need broad exposure to a subject, as well as specific "handles" to grasp. They need the step-by-step approach this book supplies. They need to experience the pleasure of unfolding a calculable model and of executing a computation that does what it is supposed to do. Many students, younger and older, will find the way Gould and Tobochnik's text satisfies these needs just about perfect."--Don S. Lemons, American Journal of Physics

"[A] remarkable textbook, Statistical and Thermal Physics . . . is sure to rapidly become a classic in this field. As opposed to some textbooks, that expose and develop the two disciplines in tandem, Gould and Tobochnik discuss Thermodynamics first and only then broach the subject of Statistical Mechanics, minimizing the confusion that arises from shifting back and forth between the two main story lines."--Daniel ben-Avraham, Journal of Statistical Physics


"In addition to being a clear, comprehensive introduction to the field, this book includes a unique and welcome feature: an emphasis on computer simulations. These are integral to the exposition and provide key insights into fundamental concepts that so often confuse newcomers to the field. Simulations also give students a tool to investigate interesting topics that are normally considered too advanced for undergraduates. I highly recommend this book to anyone planning to teach undergraduate statistical and thermal physics."--Jon Machta, University of Massachusetts Amherst

"This is an ambitious book written by two experienced researchers and teachers. Starting from the microscopic dynamics of atoms and molecules, it uses statistical mechanical ideas to explain the thermodynamic behavior of macroscopic systems, and amply illustrates these ideas using hands-on computer simulations. Both teachers and students will find this book stimulating and rewarding."--Joel L. Lebowitz, Rutgers University

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