SI1161 Statistical Physics 6.0 credits

Statistisk fysik

"Statistical physics" covers thermodynamics, statistical physics and quantum statistics, which in different ways describe systems with a large number of particles. The systems can be e.g. atoms and molecules in gases, liquids and solids or electrons in metals and semiconductors. The subject is basic to all branches of physics and has applications in most branches of technology.

  • Education cycle

    First cycle
  • Main field of study

  • Grading scale

    A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

At present this course is not scheduled to be offered.

Intended learning outcomes

Upon completion of the course you will

  • know the definition of, and be able to use, the most important concepts in thermodynamics and classical, as well as quantum mechanical, statistical physics.
  • know, be able to analyze and apply theories and models of thermodynamic processes and statistical distributions, with particular emphasis on the validity of approximations used.
  • be familiar with the relation between the phenomenological thermodynamics and the microscopic description in statistical physics.
  • be able to independently treat problems in thermodynamics and statistical physics.
  • know, and be able to develop, applications in physics and other natural sciences based on thermodynamic and statistical physical principles.
  • have a certain knowledge of technical applications of thermodynamics and statistical physics.

Course main content

Thermodynamics is a phenomenological macroscopic theory of energy conversions. Heat, which is an energy form with special properties, is particularly considered. The fundamental laws of thermodynamics, relating to energy and entropy, describe the conditions for various processes. The applicability of thermodynamics is due to the general character of its concepts. This part of the course constitutes a more deeply penetrating continuation of the course on thermodynamics for F1.

Statistical physics provides the microscopic molecular background of thermodynamics. By a statistical description based on the microscopic states of a system, averages of microscopic entities can be determined and constitute thermodynamic macroscopic entities. Modern statistical physics is formulated in terms of so called ensemble theory. Ideal gases and non-interacting spin-systems are among systems treated.

Quantum statistics demonstrates how the symmetry properties of quantum-mechanical wavefunctions influence the thermodynamic and statistical properties of a system. One distinguishes Bose- Einstein statistics for systems described by symmetric wavefunctions and Fermi-Dirac statistics for systems described by antisymmetric wavefunctions. Quantum statistics is applicable to electrons in metals and semiconductors, electromagnetic radiation, lattice vibrations, a.o.


Recommended prerequisites: Differential and integral calculus (in particular partial derivatives and functions of several variables), Mathematical statistics, Quantum mechanics and Thermodynamics (for F1).


S.J. Blundell and K.M. Blundell: Concepts in thermal physics (Second Edition, Oxford University Press, 2010). Chapter 1-8,11-30 and 35-37 included in the course.


  • TEN1 - Examination, 6.0, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Requirements for final grade

Written exam (TEN1; 6 university credits: problemsolving similar to that trained in the course).

Offered by

SCI/Undergraduate Physics


Anatoly Belonoshko (


Anatoly Belonoshko <>


Course syllabus valid from: Autumn 2010.
Examination information valid from: Autumn 2007.