Page 1 of 1

StatMech Brushup Advice

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:17 am
by darkmav
Hi,

This question is specifically directed to those who have taken the Physics GRE or are physicists on this forum.

Any inputs/suggestions on brushing up StatMech and Thermodynamics? I've taken courses on Classical Mechanics, Electrodynamics, and Quantum Mechanics but not on StatMech. I'm an EE Major, taking the Physics Subject GRE on November 7, 2009. I've read a bit of this and that in StatMech, but haven't undertaken an organized study. I would appreciate any advice about reading essential topics, that might help me at least tackle the StatMech on the GRE later this year. I have about a month and a half to study.

Thanks in advance.
Cheers!

EDIT -- Corrected date...taking the GRE this year, not next year! :-P

Re: StatMech Brushup Advice

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:56 am
by schwiss
I have not done GRE myself, but my school uses Reichl for the basic course of thermodynamics and statistical physics. I don't really like it, though.

For more advanced material I would suggest Landau and Lifshitz: Statistical Physics, Part one.

Edit:
Errr yeah, I did not actually answer your question explicitly at all. I recall Reichl's book had some problems, so if you learn well just by reading books, I would suggest reading the book, checking/proving any equations you deem necessary, doing exercise problems from the book, etc. Sorry, I hope others will be more helpful.

Re: StatMech Brushup Advice

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 11:16 am
by darkmav
I have been reading from Landau and Lifshitz, but I haven't gone too far because of other courses, work, etc. I know this is a bad thing to do academically, but what I really need is some kind of a crash course on statmech and thermodynamics so that I can at least tackle problems in the Physics GRE. I have studied basic thermodynamics (minus the engineering nuances) but very little of statmech so I am not quite as confident with it as I am with say QM, EM, CM, modern physics, etc.

Comments, suggestions, advice would be appreciated.

Re: StatMech Brushup Advice

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:12 pm
by nathan12343
An Introduction to Thermal Physics by Schroeder is a good pedagogical overview of the subject which we used for our senior level thermo/stat mech class. It should be a lot more conversational than Landau & Lifshitz.

Re: StatMech Brushup Advice

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 4:00 pm
by physics_auth
darkmav wrote:I have been reading from Landau and Lifshitz, but I haven't gone too far because of other courses, work, etc. I know this is a bad thing to do academically, but what I really need is some kind of a crash course on statmech and thermodynamics so that I can at least tackle problems in the Physics GRE. I have studied basic thermodynamics (minus the engineering nuances) but very little of statmech so I am not quite as confident with it as I am with say QM, EM, CM, modern physics, etc.

Comments, suggestions, advice would be appreciated.


Well, choosing to read Landau and Lifshitz for the PGRE could at least be considered an overkill! In fact, if sb decided to read such a book (in a very short period) then they would probably gain some initiation to statistical mech. field (in general it is considered a difficult field as all fields of modern physics) but they would have digressed from the gist of the PGRE test which is related basically to problem solving skills. Personally, since 8 or 9 out of 10 questions from thermo/stat mech are at the level of general physics I would try to focus on these topics in a general physics textbook. However, if you think that missing 1 such question is a big deal then see more advanced books like Mandl's -> focus mainly on Boltzmann statistics (i.e. the first 1 or 2 chapters).
Physics_auth

Re: StatMech Brushup Advice

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 4:27 pm
by pqortic
Yes, I either suggest you reading Halliday, Resnick general physics and solving the problems for short time study. you can't get too much solving problem skills out of StatMech textbooks and probably will lose track of other subjects.

Re: StatMech Brushup Advice

Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:25 pm
by darkmav
Hmm ok. Well, I just thought that since the PGRE is supposed to be a test of undergraduate physics, I should at least be conversant with statmech at that level. So I was just trying to make up in some small measure for not having taken a course yet. I did see the sample booklet they sent me..it has questions on elementary thermodynamics (first law, expansions, etc.) But I was wondering if the level can be much higher than Resnick and Halliday.

Re: StatMech Brushup Advice

Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:56 pm
by physics_auth
darkmav wrote:Hmm ok. Well, I just thought that since the PGRE is supposed to be a test of undergraduate physics, I should at least be conversant with statmech at that level. So I was just trying to make up in some small measure for not having taken a course yet. I did see the sample booklet they sent me..it has questions on elementary thermodynamics (first law, expansions, etc.) But I was wondering if the level can be much higher than Resnick and Halliday.


In effect, Halliday-Resnick level is sometimes higher than that of PGRE. I refer to PHYSICS not the fundamental of physics.

Re: StatMech Brushup Advice

Posted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 2:06 pm
by darkmav
Are you referring to the Resnick,Halliday, Krane version or the older Resnick,Halliday version or the intermediate Resnick,Halliday,Walker version?

Re: StatMech Brushup Advice

Posted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 2:14 pm
by physics_auth
darkmav wrote:Are you referring to the Resnick,Halliday, Krane version or the older Resnick,Halliday version or the intermediate Resnick,Halliday,Walker version?


To Halliday Resnick Krane version.