PHY 3513 THERMAL PHYSICS - Spring 2017


Pierre Sikivie
Office: NPB 2063
tel: 352.392.1923


MWF, 11:45am - 12:35pm, in NPB 1101


Mondays: 9:35am - 10:25am
Wednesdays: 10:40am - 11:30am
Fridays: 12:50pm - 1:40pm


Office hours:


"Concepts in Thermal Physics" (2d edition) by Stephen J. Blundell and Katherine M. Blundell, Oxford University Press, 2010. We will cover chapters 1-6, 8, 11-14, 16-19, 26-28, and 31.

There are many other useful textbooks on thermal physics. You are encouraged to explore alternatives. The following books may be helpful:
  • "Thermal and Statistical Physics", by H. Gould and J. Tobochnik. Available online from UF computers at
  • "Introductory Statistical Mechanics", by R. Bowley and M. Sanchez.
  • "Classical and Statistical Thermodynamics", by A.H. Carter.
  • "Introduction to Thermal Physics", by D.V. Schroeder.
  • "Thermal Physics", by R. Baierlein.
  • "The Feynman Lectures on Physics", by R.P. Feynman, R.B. Leighton and M. Sands, Vol 1, Chapters 39-46. Available online at
  • "Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences", by M.L. Boas. This text presents an in-depth discussion of much of the mathematics used in this course.


PHY3513 is the first part of a two semester sequence (PHY 3513/4523) on thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. It provides a treatment of classical thermodynamics, including fundamental postulates, entropy, equations of states, thermodynamic equilibrium and potentials, Maxwell relations, and phase transitions.


PHY2049 or equivalent. You should be familiar with multi-variable calculus.


There will be seven homework sets, due on 1/18, 2/1, 2/15. 3/1, 3/22, 4/5 and 4/19. The homework is your best opportunity to learn the material in depth. If at all possible, do the homework entirely on your own. Only if you are hopelessly stuck is it alright to seek help from the instructor or other students. Any help must be explicitly acknowledged at the end of the corresponding problem.


There will be six in-class quizzes. They will take place at unannounced times. Each will be 20 to 25 minutes long and cover the same material as the previous homework set. Of those six quizzes, only the four best will count towards the final grade.

In addition, there will be an Academic Learning Compact (ALC) test, a multiple choice test on the last day of class (April 19). The ALC test will be 30 min long and cover all the material taught during the semester.


Your final grade will be based on:
Homework 20%
Quizzes 35%
ALC   5%
Final exam 40%
Your letter grade will be determined from the following scale:
80 < A < 100 65 < B < 70 50 < C < 55 35 < D < 40
75 < A- < 80 60 < B- < 65 45 < C- < 50 30 < D- < 35
70 < B+ < 75 55 < C+ < 60 40 < D+ < 45  

The current UF policies for assigning grade points may be found at


Requirements for class attendance, make-up exams, and other work in this course are consistent with university policies that can be found at


Students with disabilities requesting accommodations should first register with the Disability Resource Center (352-392-8565, by providing appropriate documentation. Once registered, students will receive an accommodations letter which must be presented to the instructor when requesting accommodation. Students with disabilities should follow this procedure as early as possible in the semester.


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


Jan. 4 - Jan. 18: chapters 1, 2, 3
Jan. 20 - Feb. 1: chapters 4, 5, 6
Feb. 3 - Feb. 15: chapters 8, 11, 12
Feb. 17 - March 1: chapters 13, 14
March 3 - March 22: chapters 16, 17, 18
March 24 - April 5: chapters 19, 26, 27
April 7 - April 19: chapters 28, 31