PY722: Statistical Physics II
Fall 2009
TH, 11:45 to 1:00, 314 Riddick
Instructor: Karen Daniels, 258C Riddick, Email
Office hours: after class on Thursdays, or by appointment
Webpage: http://nile.physics.ncsu.edu/py722/
Prerequisite: PY721 (Statistical Physics I, or a similar class) preferred, but not required. Familiarity with the laws of thermodynamics, kinetic theory of gases, temperature, entropy, free energy, and ensembles.
Syllabus
Course format: Upper-level graduate course with emphasis on current, inter-disciplinary applications and experiments, using both computational and analytic techniques.
Textbook: James Sethna, Statistical Mechanics: Entropy, Order Parameters, and Complexity. [Online Version]
Supplemental materials (available at Hill Library Reserves): Chandler, Introduction to Statistical Mechanics; Chaikin & Lubensky, Principles of Condensed Matter Physics.; Widom, Statistical Mechanics and other readings to be posted.
Reading Assignments: You should read through the assigned chapters or papers prior to class, in enough detail to be able to answer questions of the following type: What were the key concepts introduced? What types of physical systems do the techniques in the reading apply to? What parts were difficult to understand?
Problem Sets: Detailed problem sets containing both analytical and computational problems are fundamental to learning the material in this class, will form the bulk of your grade, and are assigned approximately biweekly. You will need to have access to a computer running Python for some of the computational exercises: see here for more information. For some problems, you may also find it helpful to use Matlab and/or Mathematica. Hints for the computational exercises are available online.
The problem sets are due on Mondays by 5pm in my office on the date listed. Email submissions are permitted. Late assignments will lose 10% for each day late. Students are encouraged to work together, but each of you must present your own work and list who you worked with on each problem so as to give credit where it is due. Problem sets will be graded for both effort and accuracy. Solutions to the problem sets will be posted in a binder in 201 Riddick.
Blogging Assignments: The course blog is located at blogs.lib.ncsu.edu/py722, to provide a forum for the class to share papers on current research topics relevant to the class material. You will need to fill out the FERPA agreement form and return it to me along with your Unity ID before I can add you as an author on the blog.
Blog assignments must be posted by Mondays at 5pm on the date listed. For each assignment, you will create a blog entry which:
- has an informative title
- is sorted into the appropriate category for that week's assignment
- contains a working link to a research paper which fits the description provided in that week's assignment
- contains an approximately 1-paragraph commentary on the paper. Topics you might address: Why is this paper important? How does the paper illustrate, complement, or contradict material covered in class? Why did the paper spark your interest? What interesting questions does the paper raise? Are any of the results or techniques surprising to you? The entry should not be a simple summary of the contents of the paper.
Entries will be graded on a 0 to 2 scale where 0 = missing, 1 = minimally present or late, 2 = acceptable. Extra points may be awarded for outstandingly insightful entries. In addition, you will post at least one comment on a classmate's entry from the previous week (worth 1 additional point) between Monday and Thursday. We will take some time on Thursday classes following the due date to have a discussion about some of the issues raised by your postings.
Midterm exam: take-home exam will be due Mon, Oct 19. Please mark your calendars. Details to follow.
Final paper: review-type paper (and in-class presentation) on a current application of a statistical physics topic. Details to follow. Due Fri, Dec 4.
Grading: Assignment grades will be posted at vista.ncsu.edu. Your final grade will be calculated as follows: 50% problem sets, 10% blog entries, 20% take-home midterm exam, 20% final paper.
Honor Pledge: For all assignments, the instructor will assume that the student has upheld the NCSU Honor Pledge: "I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this test or assignment." Please refer to the Code of Student Conduct Policy for details.
Students with disabilities: Reasonable accommodations will be made for students with verifiable disabilities. In order to take advantage of available accommodations, students must register with Disability Services for Students at 1900 Student Health Center, Campus Box 7509, 515-7653. For more information on NC State's policy on working with students with disabilities, please see the Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities Regulation REG02.20.1.
Course Calendar
Links from Class
This calendar is subject to change as the semester progresses.
Topics
- Random processes (Aug 20, 25)
Reading: Sethna Chapters 1 and 2 (Note: we will largely omit Chapter 3 since it reviews material from PY721.)
- Ergodicity and non-ergodicity (Aug 27)
Reading: Sethna Chapter 4
- Entropy, free energy, and ensembles (Sep 1, 3)
Reading: Sethna Chapters 5, 6 (to be covered quickly, since it reviews material from PY721)
- Thermally-activated processes (Sep 8, 10) Guest lecturer: L. Clarke
Reading: TBD
- Quantum statistical mechanics (Sep 15, 17)
Reading: Sethna Chapter 7 (helpful to review 3.2 and 3.7)
- Ising model & computational techniques (Sep 22, 24)
Reading: Sethna Chapter 8
Class will meet in the grad computing room on Sept 24:
[Ising Model Exercises]
[Python Code]
- Order parameters & broken symmetries (Sep 29, Oct 1)
Reading: Sethna Chapter 9, Chandler Chapter 5 (on reserve)
- Correlations, response, & fluctuation-dissipation theorem (Oct 6, 13, 15, 20)
Reading: Sethna Chapter 10
- Research paper planning (Oct 15)
Please bring a laptop to class. [Library Resources]
- Liquid and amorphous states (Oct 20, 22, 27)
Reading: Chandler Chapter 7 (on electronic reserves), Widom Chapter 7 (on physical reserve)
- Phase transitions (Oct 27, 29, Nov 3, 5)
Reading: Sethna Chapter 11
- Universality & renormalization group (Nov 5, 10, 12, 17)
Reading: Sethna Chapter 12, Chandler Chapter 5 (on reserve)
- Networks (Nov 19)
Reading:
Watts & Strogatz. Nature (1998)
Barabasi & Albert. Science (1999)
Newman, Moore & Watts. PRL (2000)
- Peer review of paper drafts (Nov 24)
Instructions
- Student presentations (Dec 1, 3)
10-minute in-class talks on final paper
Assignments
E-submissions should be in as few files as possible (preferably a single PDF I can print out). If your file is larger than 3 MB, please upload it to vista.ncsu.edu rather than emailing it to me. You do not need to submit your .py code unless you have some reason you want me to look at it. Please respond to text-based questions in complete sentences.
- Blog (category = Blog1): commentary on a recent journal article which addresses randomness or lack of randomness (e.g. through correlations). Also, check that you can run the appropriate Python tools. (due Mon, Aug 24)
- HW 1: Sethna Problems 1.3, 2.5, 2.10, 2.13 (due Mon, Aug 31)
- Ungraded, optional HW: review Sethna Problems 3.5, 3.6, 3.8, 3.9 (solutions will be included with HW 1 solutions)
- Blog (category = Blog2): commentary on a recent journal article which addresses an issue of ergodicity, non-ergodicity, chaos, or entropy (due Thurs, Sep 10, comments by Mon Sep 14)
- HW 2: Sethna Problems 4.1, 5.4, 5.9, 5.10, 5.11 (due Mon, Sep 14)
- HW 3: Sethna Problems from Chapters 6, 7: 6.1, 6.11, 6.13, 7.10, 7.15 (due Mon, Sep 28)
- Blog (category = Blog3): commentary on a recent journal article which addresses an issue related to Ising-like models, order parameters, spontaneously-broken symmetries (due Mon, Oct 5; comment by Oct 12)
- HW 4: [Ising Model Exercises] (modified from in-class version; includes Sethna Problem 8.2), Sethna Problem 9.5 (due Mon, Oct 12)
- Midterm: take-home exam (due Mon, Oct 19)
- Blog (category = Blog4): commentary on a recent journal article which addresses an issue related to correlations, fluctuation/dissipation, or radial distribution functions (due Mon, Oct 26; comment by Oct 28)
- Final paper topic proposal (due Thurs, Oct 29)
- HW 5: Sethna Problems from Chapters 10 & Chandler/Widom Chapter 7: Sethna 10.2, 10.5, Chandler 7.12, 7.13 (due Tues, Nov 3 in class)
- Blog (category = Blog5): commentary on a recent journal article on a phase transition (due Mon, Nov 9)
- Final paper draft outline (due Thurs, Nov 12)
- HW 6: Sethna Problems from Chapters 11, 12: Chandler 5.6, 5.7, Sethna 11.9, Using either Java or Python play around with 11.4, 11.6, 12.1 and write a few sentences about what you observed in each. (due Thurs, Nov 19)
- Final paper: due Fri, Dec 4