Thermal Physics (PY 413)


Physics 413 (Thermal Physics) provides an introduction to thermodynamics and statistical mechanics intended for undergraduate students in physics or engineering.

  1. Lecture:
    MWF 9:10-10:00, Dabney 220
    Instructor: T. Schaefer, Office BOM-210
    email: Thomas_Schaefer[at]
    Office hours: Mo. 1:00-3:00 and by appointment.
  2. Homework:
    Most wednesdays a set of homework problems will be assigned. (You can also check the website.) The homework is due wednesday the following week.
  3. Exams
    There will be one midterm exam and a final.
  4. Grade
    Your final grade will be determined by weighting the various portions of the course as follows:
    Midterms: 30%, Final: 40%, Homework: 30%
  5. Textbook
    Daniel V. Schroeder, Thermal Physics (Addison Wesley). Supplemental references: A typical graduate level text is L. D. Landau and E. M. Lifshitz, Statistical Physics.

Handouts: [binomial coefficients], [two Einstein solids], [entropy vs temp], [surfaces], [non ideal gas], [Bose Einstein condensation], [BEC picture gallery (MIT)]
Animations: [Stirling engine], [Gasoline (Otto) engine], [Laser Cooling], [Evaporative Cooling]

Rules: Homework is due in class. No late homework accepted. No excuses other than serious illness, death in family, ... Lowest homework score will be dropped. If you have questions regarding the grading please contact the grader ( Jingyi Chao, jchao[at]
Some formulas and reference data: [ps, pdf]

Questions? Send email to thomas_schaefer(at)ncsu_edu