Advanced Statistical Mechanics I (PH715, Spring, 2018)

Course Description: Through this course students will learn advanced topics in statistical mechanics including computer simulation methods. 

Learning Objectives:
  • Classical Mixed States: Phase Density and Liouville Equation
  • Quantum Mixed States: Density Operator and Liuoville-von Neumann Equation
  • Entropy and Information
  • Ensemble Theory of Thermal Equilibrium
  • Critical Phenomena, Landau Theory, Renomalization Group
  • Linear Response Theory, Fluctuation Dissipation Theorem, Onsager Relation
  • Stochastic Dynamics, Langevin Equation, Fokker-Plank Equation
  • Monte Carlo Simulation, Metropolis Algorithm
  • Fluctuation Theorem, Jerzyinski Equality
  • Information and Maxwell Demon
  • The Origin of Statistical Physics: Quantum Typicality
Day and Time: Tue. & Thu. 12:30PM-1:45PM
Room: PH 394 (Del Square)
Instructor: Dr. Ryoichi Kawai
phone: (205) 934-3931
skype*: userid = ryoichikawai
* You must send your skype user ID to the instructor by email in advance or your call will be blocked.
Office Hour: Tu 2-3pm/W 12-1pm
Course Website:

Course Schedule

Required Textbook  

Equilibrium and Non-Equilibrium Statistical Thermodynamics
by Le Bellac, Mortessagne, and Batrouni
Cambridge, 2004

Messages from the Instructor
  • [12/27] The course web site opened.

MATLAB is used in lectures. The use of MATLAB is not required but recommended. UAB has a site license and students are elligible to install MATLAB on their computer. Installation instruction is given at

Python is another popular computer language. Although we use MATLAB execlusively in lectures, Phython source codes are provided. It is not required to use Python. However, if you wish to learn Python, Anadonda package is recommended for Microsoft Windows and Mac. The instructor uses Python 3.x (Not Python 2.x). Download Anaconda at If you use Linux and don't know how to install Python and related tools, consult the instructor.

Homework must be turned in electronically by email.  Allowed formats are PDF and Latex. Photograph taken by cell phone is not acceptable.

There is no final exam. Instead each student must submit a term paper based on a project which investigates an interesting equilibrium or non-equilibrium phoenomen either using mathematical theory or computer simulation. The instructor provides severl possible projects. Students can pick one from the given list or propose their own project. The term paper must be submitted before 5 pm, April 25th, 2018.

Attendance is required. To pass the course you must attend at least 75% of lectures. Excessive absence will result in administrative withdraw.

Two midterm exams (20 pts. each), homework (20 pts.) and a project report (40 pts.) The total maximum possible points is 100 pts. All students must complete two exams, one project, 75% of homework and more than 75% of attendance or receive F regardless of the total scores. Letter grades are determined by the rule given in the table.
Grade Total Score
A 90 or above
B 80 or above
C 70 or above
F Otherwise