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Thermal Physics

Thermodynamics & Statistical Mechanics

Course Information

Course Description
Thermal Physics provides and introduction to thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. Thermal physics studies the relationship between volume, pressure, heat, work, energy, temperature, entropy free energy, enthalpy, chemical potential, heat capacities and other quantities. Topics presented in this course include the first, second and third laws of thermodynamics; heat engines, refrigerators and heat pumps; mechanical, thermal, and chemical equilibrium. phase diagrams, phase transitions, Boltzmann and Gibbs distributions, partition functions, the equipartition theorem, Blackbody radiation, and degenerate fermi gasses. Prereq.: PHYS-206 and MATH-202 or consent of instructor. 3.0 Credits
Course Catalog Description
Thermodynamic systems; pressure and temperature; ideal gas laws; heat, work and energy; entropy; kinetic theory
TR from 5:40 PM - 6:55 PM, in BBH-123

Faculty Information

Dr. Greg Anderson, Professor of Physics
Office Hours
Posted here and by appointment in 217D BBH.
Contact Information
Email:, Phone Extension: 5753

Course Materials

Required Textbook
D.V. Schroeder, An Introduction to Thermal Physics, (Oxford University Press, 2000): Hardcover  •  Paperback  •  Ebook  •  Amazon
Other Thermal Physics Texts:
Other Useful References:

Assignments and Expectations

Goals and Learning Outcomes
The Learning Outcomes for this course are derived from the Physics Program Learning Outcomes which align with NEIU's Baccalaureate Goals.
Time Commitment
For university courses, the universal, standard expectation is that students should spend at least 2-3 hours per week outside of class for every credit hour. For science classes, and for upper division science classes in particular, the "2" above is generally considered to be insufficient. That means for this class you should be spending at least nine hours a week outside of class time reading the text, studying the lecture notes, and doing the homework assignments. Students who do not devote enough time to outside of class study should not expect to perform well on tests and quizzes.
Problem Sets
Weekly problem sets are assigned here. Problem sets should be completed by the following week. You are strongly encouraged to work with your classmates on problem sets, however the work on your individual problem set should be your own.
This course has seven in class exams, which may contain take home problems. The exams are largely based on material from lectures and problems similar to those found in the weekly assignments.
The final grade will be based on seven chapter exams.
Any student who achieves a percentile score of above 90%, 80%, 70%, 60% is guaranteed to receive an A, B, C, or D respectively. These percentile scores may be adjusted downwards based on a class curve and other considerations.

Additional Information

Academic Integrity
By enrolling in this course, you are bound by the NEIU Student Code of Conduct (HTML), (PDF).
ADA Statement
Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in making reasonable accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. To request accommodations, students with special needs should make arrangements with the Student Disability Services (SDS) office, located on the main campus in room D104. Contact SDS via (773) 442-4595 or
Campus Safety
Emergency Procedures and Safety Information can be found on NEIUport on the MyNEIU tab or at:
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