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Recommendations for Statistical Mechanics book


I learned thermodynamics and the basics of statistical mechanics but I'd like to sit through a good advanced book/books. Mainly I just want it to
be thorough and to include all the math. And of course it's always good to give as much intuition about the material.
Some things I'd be happy if it includes (but again it mostly just needs to be a good clear book even if it doesn't contain these) are:
1. As much justifications for the postulates if possible, I'm very interested in reading more about how Liouville's theorem connects to the
postulates
2. Have examples of calculating partition functions, hopefully not just the partition function for the ideal gas.
thermodynamics

statistical-mechanics

edited Nov 5 '14 at 20:21

resource-recommendations

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3 revs, 2 users 81%
fiftyeight

Before answering, please see our policy on resource recommendation questions. Please write
substantial answers that detail the style, content, and prerequisites of the book, paper or other resource.
Explain the nature of the resource so that readers can decide which one is best suited for them rather
than relying on the opinions of others. Answers containing only a reference to a book or paper will
be removed!
1

A good advanced book that covers in details and with mathematical rigor what you want and much more is
Gallavotti's "Statistical Mechanics - a short treatise", which is not so short actually... You can get it from here.
Yvan Velenik Jun 21 '12 at 20:07
Another good (but probably too advanced) book is the "old" book by Ruelle, "Statistical Mechanics - Rigorous
Results". If you have the level in maths, and are interested in the mathematical theory of phase transitions for lattice
systems, the classical reference is Georgii's "Gibbs measures and phase transitions" (although that's more
graduate level stuff). Yvan Velenik Jun 21 '12 at 20:09
Just in case. Here are the google book pages for the last 2 refs, so that you can have an idea of what is done there
and at which level: Ruelle, Georgii. Yvan Velenik Jun 22 '12 at 16:15

5 Answers
EDIT: My answer assumes that you're looking for a book at the introductory graduate level.
I found Pathria's "Statistical Mechanics" (2nd ed) very helpful during my first-year graduate
statistical mechanics course. Pathria's treatment of the subject is mathematically careful and
detailed, at least by physics standards; I found his discussion of Liouville's theorem (part 1 of your
question) satisfactory. Unfortunately, like many formal treatments, Pathria discusses few interesting
applications.
"Statistical Physics of Particles" by Kardar appears to be supplanting Pathria as the favored
introductory graduate text; it was used at Boston University and at Caltech during my time there.
Kardar is very terse and would probably have to be supplemented by another book, but the
problems he offers are interesting (if hard). In fact, about a third of the text consists of detailed
solutions to the problems.
I have heard good things about Reichl's book, already mentioned in another answer. I used it briefly
as a reference: the coverage of kinetic theory is more complete than in other sources. It is more
accessible than Pathria, not to mention Kardar.
edited Nov 19 '12 at 22:53

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3 revs
Ted Pudlik

I recommend the book ''A Modern Course in Statistical Physics'' by Reichl. It starts with
phenomenological thermodynamics, covers both equilibrium and nonequilibrium statistical
mechanics, and discusses a wide range of applications, not only ideal and real gases. Its level of
rigor is that of typical books on theoretical physics.

tour

help

You may also be interested in my book http://lanl.arxiv.org/pdf/0810.1019v2.pdf ; the part on


statistical mechanics is nearly independent of the remainder.
answered Jun 22 '12 at 12:34

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Arnold Neumaier

As an undergrad, we used "Thermal Physics" by Kittel and Kroemer:


http://www.amazon.com/Thermal-Physics-Edition-Charles-Kittel/dp/0716710889
answered Jun 22 '12 at 15:11

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stl_piznaul

I recommend books by Kardar "Statistical Physics of Particles" "Statistical Physics of Fields" The
mordern approach to this subject is helpful for your future study.
Also there are solutions to all of the problem, which you can find from the internet.
answered Jun 23 '12 at 1:29

community wiki
Craig Thone

If anyone is interested in seeing how this is done from a chemist's perspective I can heartily
recommend Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Molecular Simulation by Mark Tuckerman. Sadly,
it isn't on line but can be ordered from Amazon or the like.
answered Nov 20 '12 at 2:20

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Paul J. Gans