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# thermodynamics

## Pressure

Tue, 2007-02-20 13:00 - Zhigang SuoSo far we have been mainly concerned with systems of a single independent variable: energy (node/4878). We now consider a system of two independent variables: energy and volume. A thermodynamic model of the system is prescribed by entropy as a function of energy and volume.

The partial derivatives of the function give the temperature and the pressure. This fact leads to an experimental procedure to determine the function for a given system.

The laws of ideal gases and osmosis are derived. The two phenomena illustrate entropic elasticity.

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## Josiah Willard Gibbs and his two shorter papers on thermodynamics

Sat, 2007-01-06 16:21 - Zhigang SuoThere seems to be tremendous enthusiasm among young mechanicians to master thermodynamics. I have found no better source for enlightenment than Gibbs's own writings on the subject, collected in a paperback, still in print. By common consensus, his masterpiece on the subject is the 300-page paper entitled "On the Equilibrium of Heterogeneous Substances". Although I have returned to the long paper many times for illumination, my own favorites are his two shorter papers, written in 1873, before the long one. In many ways, I think, the longer paper is an elaboration of the ideas in the two shorter ones. The title of the short papers are

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## The Boltzmann Distribution

Sun, 2006-10-08 17:52 - Zhigang Suo- A small system in thermal contact with a large system
- The Boltzmann factor
- Partition function
- The probability for a system in thermal equilibrium with a reservoir to be in a specific state
- The probability for a system in thermal equilibrium with a reservoir to be in a configuration
- Thermal fluctuation of an RNA molecule
- A matter of words

Return to the outline of Statistical Mechanics.

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## Entropy

Sun, 2006-10-08 17:46 - Zhigang Suo- A dissection of a sample space
- Entropy of a dissection of a sample space

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## Temperature

Sun, 2006-10-08 14:20 - Zhigang SuoThese notes are part of my notes on thermodynamics.

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## Entropy

Sun, 2006-10-08 14:15 - Zhigang SuoThe notes are attached. See related notes on thermodynamics.

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## Probability

Sun, 2006-10-08 14:10 - Zhigang Suo- An experiment that has many possible outcomes
- Construct a sample space at a suitable level of detail
- Probability of an event
- Conditioning
- Independent events
- Random variable
- Use a random variable to specify an event
- Use a random variable to dissect a sample space
- Probability distribution of a random variable
- Variance of a random variable
- A dimensionless measure of the fluctuation of a random variable

Return to the outline of Statistical Mechanics

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## Statistical Mechanics

Sun, 2006-10-08 14:01 - Zhigang SuoUpdate on 14 December 2019. By now I have taught undergraduate thermodynamics three times at Harvard. I have written up my lecture notes as a book, and posted the book online.

Here are sections that I have now:

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## A Fresh Look at a Beautiful Subject

Mon, 2006-09-18 15:37 - Zhigang SuoThis is a review on *Thermal Physics* by Charles Kittle and Herbert Kroemer. I posted the review on Amazon on 2 December 2001.

This is by far THE BEST textbook on the subject. As many people say, thermodynamics is a subject that one has to learn at least three times. I can easily understand the very negative review from the undergraduate student at Berkely. The subject itself is hard, and simply is not for everyone, not for the first run at least. I say this from experience. I earned a Ph.D. degree over ten years ago, and took courses on thermodynamics at both undergraduate and graduate levels. I didn't understand the subject at all, and didn't find much use in my thesis work. However, something about the subject has kept me going back to it ever since. I now own about 40 books on the subject, and use the ideas almost daily in my research.

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