Physics 351, Thermal Physics (Statistics and Thermodynamics), Spring 2016

Course grades are posted in the online gradebook.

Welcome to Thermal Physics. This is a one-term course on Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics. Thermodynamics is the study of bulk properties of matter dealing with temperature and heat flow. It was largely put together in the 19th century. Statistical Mechanics attempts to explain the principles of thermodynamics. It does so using concepts from 20th century physics, especially Quantum Mechanics.

  • Professor: Valery Kiryukhin. Office: Serin W 118, email: vkir -AT-, phone: (848) 445-8752.
  • Text: Introduction to Thermal Physics by Daniel V. Schroeder.
  • Lectures: Wed 10:20 - 11:40 am, Fri 3:20 - 4:40 pm, SEC 117
  • Office Hours: Wed afternoon (email to confirm).
  • Homework Grader: Xianghan Xu, email: xianghanxu -AT-



    There is a syllabus for this class. There will be weekly homework, a midterm exam and a final exam. Please let me know as soon as possible if you cannot make either the midterm or final exam.

    Lecture Notes

    The lectures will be blackboard based, so it is essential that you attend. There are also slides originally written up by Prof. Gershenson, which are available on this page . They serve as a good complement to the text and lectures.


    Homework will be assigned every week, announced on this web page, and will be due in one week (exceptions as noted). Here is the directory with homework solutions . This directory contains copyrighted material, and is protected by password. Login information has been sent to all students by email. The solutions are to be used only for the course purposes, and cannot be shared or distributed.
    Note that the homeworks are 20% of your grade. This is a higher weight than homeworks are usually accorded. Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics are notoriously opaque subjects and the only way to get a handle on them is to solve problems. The homeworks will be returned one week after submission.


    Here is how the grading breaks down (approximate):
  • Homework: 20%
  • Midterm Exam: 30%
  • Final Exam: 50%

    Midterm and Final Exam

    The Midterm exam will be in class on March 11, for a full lecture period. The Final Exam will take place on May 10, from 4-7 pm, SEC-117. Exam solutions and practice exams will be posted in the homework solutions directory.

    Online Gradebook

    There is an online gradebook for this course. Please check this for exam grades, etc.

    Students with Disabilities

    Please consult me as early as possible if you have a disability that might interfere with an optimal learning experience.
    Also, please consult the website on disabilities . The University has coordinators for students with disabilities.

    Student Wellness Services

    For student wellness services, such as Just In Case web app, Counseling, ADAP, and Psychiatric Services, Violence Prevention & Victim Assistance, Disability Services, and Scarlet Listeners, please follow this link .