Statistical mechanics is one of the most exciting areas of physics today, and it also has applications to subjects as diverse as economics, social behavior, algorithmic theory, and evolutionary biology. Statistical Mechanics in a Nutshell offers the most concise, self-contained introduction to this rapidly developing field. Requiring only a background in elementary calculus and elementary mechanics, this book starts with the basics, introduces the most important developments in classical statistical mechanics over the last thirty years, and guides readers to the very threshold of today’s cutting-edge research.
Statistical Mechanics in a Nutshell zeroes in on the most relevant and promising advances in the field, including the theory of phase transitions, generalized Brownian motion and stochastic dynamics, the methods underlying Monte Carlo simulations, complex systems—and much, much more. The essential resource on the subject, this book is the most up-to-date and accessible introduction available for graduate students and advanced undergraduates seeking a succinct primer on the core ideas of statistical mechanics.
- Provides the most concise, self-contained introduction to statistical mechanics
- Focuses on the most promising advances, not complicated calculations
- Requires only elementary calculus and elementary mechanics
- Guides readers from the basics to the threshold of modern research
- Highlights the broad scope of applications of statistical mechanics
Luca Peliti is professor of statistical mechanics at the University of Naples Federico II in Italy. His books include Biologically Inspired Physics.
"Unlike typical textbooks . . . [Statistical Mechanics in a Nutshell] presents statistical mechanics as a more general theory with broader applications. . . . A graduate student or researcher who wants to explore the applications of statistical mechanics would be very well served by this book."—Choice
"Peliti's Statistical Mechanics in a Nutshell is a fantastic reference for those who know the subject, teach it, or need a quick technical reminder, especially on the topic of phase transitions, which are consistently featured in modern-day discussions. . . . Statistical Mechanics in a Nutshell provides the more general overview, with topics such as the renormalization group method. It includes a good mix of fundamental thermodynamics, phase behaviour, and other key subjects."—Physics Today
"This book provides a clear, no-nonsense approach to the basic ideas of the subject as well as an introduction to some of its modern applications. The main ideas are well illustrated by examples and exercises. There are important sections on numerical methods and dynamics, and a final chapter on complex systems gives the reader a foretaste of current research. The volume will serve as an excellent introductory graduate text for students in physics, chemistry, and biology."—John Cardy, University of Oxford
"Statistical mechanics has seen an extraordinary broadening of application in recent decades, from economics and the social sciences to computer science and biology. Statistical Mechanics in a Nutshell combines in one accessible book the main classical ideas of statistical mechanics with many recent developments. It should have a wide readership among young (and also less young) scientists seeking a clear view of modern statistical physics."—Bernard Derrida, école Normale Supérieure
"This superb text provides a balanced and thorough treatment of statistical physics. From thermodynamics and basic principles to renormalization group, dynamics, and complex systems, the presentation is a model of clarity, and the level of detail is highly appropriate for graduate students or advanced undergraduates. Each chapter concludes with a helpful list of recommended further reading. I see this becoming a standard textbook for the next generation of PhD students."—Daniel Arovas, University of California, San Diego
"This is an excellent and comprehensive introduction to statistical mechanics in all of its aspects. The exposition is stimulating and concise but always clear, avoiding pedantic details. Statistical Mechanics in a Nutshell has the potential to become a standard reference."—Giovanni Gallavotti, Sapienza University of Rome