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PHY3513 [Thermal Physics, 1E44(19216)], spring term 2019

Instructor:  Arthur Hebard
Office: 2257 NPB 
Phone:  392-8442
Lab: B38/39 NPB
Phone:  392-9228
Fax: 392-3591
Meeting time: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, period 5, 11:45 -12:35 pm in NPB 1101.

Office hours: Monday, 3:00-4:00 pm and Thursday, 1:30 pm-2:30 pm. At other times, please email and confirm.

Textbook: The required text is Concepts in Thermal Physics by S. Blundell and K. Blundell

Reference Texts (optional): Any of the following books might be helpful as supplemental reading for enhancing your understanding of the course material.

  • Thermal and Statistical Physics, by Gould and Tobochnik. This is a new online textbook which is presently being considered for possible future use in PHY3513 or other UF courses. (Access online from UF computers via )
  • Introductory Statistical Mechanics, by Bowley and Sanchez. This book was used in PHY4523 and is mostly focused on Stat Mech, where it does a great job. It does contain some useful discussions of thermodynamics.
  • Classical and Statistical Thermodynamics, by Ashley H. Carter. This book has a thermodynamics focus. It was recently used in PHY3513 and may be seen as an alternative to Blundell & Blundell.
  • Introduction to Thermal Physics, by D.V. Schroeder. This book covers both statistical physics and thermodynamics, merging the two approaches. It has been used at UF in recent years. Worth a look.
  • Thermal Physics, by Ralph Baierlein. The book combines thermodynamics, statistical physics, and kinetic theory.
  • FinnsThermal Physics, by Andrew Rex and C. B. P. Finn, easy to follow worked examples with modern updates
  • Feynman Vol 1 (on web) (Chapters 39-46) A classic which has been updated on the web with stylistic changes.
  • Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences, by Mary L.Boas. This text is used in PHZ3113 (Introduction to Theoretical Physics) and presents a more in-depth discussion of much of the mathematics used in this course
Corequisites: PHY 2049 or the equivalent. A course in differential equations is highly recommended. Calculus III will be used extensively throughout the course.

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 and phase transitions. Physics 3513 will cover selected chapters of the textbook. See outline for details. Lecture slides will be posted.

Words of Advice for success in this course

Grading policy:

Homework: There will be seven GRADED homework assignments during the semester, due on the dates indicated on the schedule. Each homework will be distributed as a PDF file through e-mail (see calendar dates) and only the current homework will be posted on-line. Make your solutions neat, concise, and intelligible. Points may be deducted if it is difficult to find and/or understand the solutions. Overdue homework will not be graded. The graded homeworks will be worth 15% of the total grade. The course grader for homework assignments is Moinul Rahat (

In-class exams : In addition to the homework assignments, there will be THREE IN-CLASS Exams of 50 minutes duration, tentatively scheduled for February 1, February 27, and April 5. Each of these exams will be worth 24% of the total grade. The lowest score of the three in-class exams will be dropped. Hence the in-class exams will constitute 48% of the total grade.

In-class quizzes: A minimum of nine 10-minute in-class quizzes will occur approximately once a week and will cover topics included within the previous two weeks. These quizzes will be mostly based on conceptual questions (with true/false or multiple choice responses) and occasionally on simple calculations. The lowest quiz grade of the total number of quizzes given will be dropped. The in-class quizzes will constitute 10% of your total grade. One compulsory quiz, scheduled for Monday, April 16, will be used the fulfil the academic learning compact (ALC) requirement. Note that this ALC constitutes 3% of your total grade and will not be dropped .

Final exam: There will be a two hour, cumulative final exam. Details about the exam format will be posted here. Formula sheets for the final exam will be allowed. The final exam will be worth 24% of the total grade. The final is scheduled for Tuesday, April 30, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM in NPB 1101.

Grade calculation:

Best 2 out of 3 in-class tests
24% each for a total of 48%
In-class quizzes
Final exam

Your grades will be posted on CANVAS. If you have not used CANVAS, please visit CANVAS Help and learn how to use it. 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 thresholds may be lowered, depending upon numerous factors, but will not be raised. The course grades are not curved.

C is the lowest passing grade for physics majors!

Holidays (no classes): Martin Luther King day: Monday, Jan 21; Spring break: March 2-9.

STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: Students who require accommodation for disabilities must first contact the Dean of Students Office. That office will provide documentation, which the student must bring to his/her instructors during the first week of the semester.

ACADEMIC HONESTY: Each student is expected to hold himself/herself to a high standard of academic honesty. Under the UF academic honesty policy, unauthorized assistance or the use of unauthorized resources is strictly forbidden on work-for-credit. Although discussions among the students are highly encouraged, you are to work alone on all homework assignments unless specified differently. Fabrication or falsification of excuses or related documentation is also a violation of the UF academic honesty policy. Violations of this policy will be dealt with severely. There will be no warnings or exceptions.

Last modified: 1/3/19 by Arthur Hebard

New Physics Building
Gainesville, FL 32611-8440
Ph: (Lab) (352) 392 9228
Ph: (Office) (352) 392 8842