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PHY 3513 (Thermal Physics), Fall Term 2016

Final Exam: Wednesday, December 14, 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, NPB 1101

Instructor:  Amlan Biswas

Office: 2255 NPB  Phone:  392-8592
Lab: B32 NPB Phone:  392-3667
Fax: 392-3591

Class hours and location: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, period 7, 1:55 pm - 2:45 pm; NPB 1101.

Office hours: Monday,
Wednesday, Friday, period 8, 3:00 pm - 3:50 pm. At other times you can make an appointment or look for me in my office or lab.

Textbook: The required text is Blundell and Blundell, Concepts in Thermal Physics, (2nd edition, Oxford University Press) ISBN: 0199562105.

Coreq: PHY 2049 or equivalent

Synopsis: First part of sequence PHY 3513-4523. Treatment of classical thermodynamics including fundamental postulates, entropy, equations of states. Thermodynamic equilibrium and potentials, Maxwell relations, phase transitions. Physics 3513 will cover selected chapters of the textbook. See outline for details. Lecture slides will be available, usually, a day before class on this website.

Course objectives: To obtain a thorough understanding of thermal physics with detailed mathematical treatment. The link between microscopic and macroscopic properties will be explored. Applications to modern technology will be emphasized along with a historical perspective.

Grading policy:

Homework based quizzes: There will be approximately seven UNGRADED homework assignments during the semester, usually assigned on Fridays. The partial solutions to the homework will be made available on the course website 3 to 4 days later. Nine days after the homework is assigned, there will be a short (15 minutes) in-class quiz based on that homework (usually on Mondays). There will a total of 7 such quizzes and the minimum score will be dropped. These quizzes will be worth 10% of the total grade. The problems will usually be multiple choice but partial credit will be given if the calculations are shown to be partially correct. See calendar for quiz dates. You can bring your own work for the corresponding homework assignment.

Extra credit Matlab project: There will be a matlab project worth 2 extra credits. The project will be assigned to groups of 2 students and will be based on concepts and techniques learned during the semester. Basic matlab techniques will be discussed in class or in the assigned homeworks.

Mid-term tests: There will be THREE MID-TERM TESTS of 110 minutes duration (8:20 pm to 10:10 pm), scheduled for September 15, October 13, and November 15. The minumum mid-term score will be dropped. Each of these tests will be worth 30% of the total grade. Hence the mid-term tests will constitute 60% of the total grade. The mid-term tests will be based on the homeworks assigned in the previous weeks and the quizzes. I will provide the formula sheets for the tests about 4 days before the test.

Make-up test: If a situation satisfies the make-up policy (see below) a make-up test will be given in the last week of classes . This test will replace one of the mid-terms. 

Final exam: There will be a two hour, cumulative final exam. Details about the exam format will be posted here.  The final exam will be worth 30% of the total grade.

Grade calculation:

2 best mid-term tests
30% each for a total of 60%
7 minus 2 in-class quizzes
2 extra credits (matlab project) 2%
Final exam

Here is a guideline for your final letter grade: 85%-100%, some type of A; 65%-84%, some type of B; 50%-64%, some type of C; below 50, will be decided by the instructor. These numbers may be lowered, depending upon numerous factors, but will not be raised. The course grades are not curved. Link to UF grading policy.

Attendance and make up assignments/tests: Regular attendance is expected but not enforced. In class quizzes are announced in advance and are usually on Mondays. Make up quizzes/exams will be given for valid excused absences. Valid excuses are officially sanctioned UF events, medical reasons or family emergencies.

Holidays (no classes): Labor Day (September 5), Homecoming (October 14), Veteran's Day (November 11), Thanksgiving (November 23, 25).

Rescheduled Class:

Course evaluations: Students are expected to provide feedback on the quality of instruction in this course by completing online evaluations at Evaluations are typically open during the last two or three weeks of the semester, but students will be given specific times when they are open. Summary results of these assessments are available to students at

Outside Help Services: The Teaching Center in Broward Hall (tel. 392-2010) offers a range of free services, including individual tutoring in physics.

Accommodations: Students requesting classroom accommodations must first register with the Disabilities Resources Program, located in the Dean of Students Office, P202 Peabody Hall. The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student, who must then deliver this documentation to the instructor when requesting accommodations.

Academic Honesty: All University of Florida students are required to abide by the University's Academic Honesty Guidelines and by the Honor Code, which reads as follows: We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honesty and integrity. On all work submitted for credit by students at the University of Florida, the following pledge is either required or implied: "On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment." Cheating, plagiarism, or other violations of the Academic Honesty Guidelines will not be tolerated and will be pursued through the University's adjudication procedures.

Location: NPB 32 and 28
Gainesville, FL 32611-8440
Ph: (Lab) (352) 392 3667
Last updated: 8/15/16 by Amlan Biswas