PHYS 3P41: Statistical Physics 1/PHYS 5P11: Theoretical Foundations of Materials Physics I
Course Outline 2018 (FW 2018 D2)
What this course is about:

This course will provide an introduction to concepts in Thermal and Statistical Physics. The course will have three major sections: Kinetic Theory, Classical Thermodynamics and an introduction to Statistical Mechanics.


Prerequisite: PHYS 2P50

Learning Objectives/Outcomes:
To establish the vocabulary and concepts of introductory thermal and statistical physics. To analyze and solve problems using oral and written reasoning skills both independently and in a group setting.

Topics covered:
  • Heat, Heat Capacity
  • Review of Probability
  • Statistical Interpretation of Temperature
Kinetic Theory of Gases
  • Maxwell Boltzmann Distribution
  • Gas Laws
  • Effusion, Flux
  • Collisions
  • Transport Properties
  • Thermal Diffusion Equation
Classical Thermodynamics
  • The First Law of Thermodynamics
  • Isothermal and Adiabatic Processes
  • The Second Law of Thermodynamics, Heat Engines
  • Entropy
  • Thermodynamic Potentials, Maxwell's Relations
  • Applications
  • The Third Law of Thermodynamics
Statistical Mechanics
  • Equipartition of Energy
  • Partition Function, Functions of State
  • Chemical Potential, Grand Partition Function
  • Further Examples (time permitting)

Concepts in Thermal Physics, 2nd Edition by Stephen J. Blundell and Katherine M. Blundell (Oxford University Press, 2010).

Note that the first edition is on reserve in the library as well as available in e-book format .
Times and Locations:
  • Mon 8:00-9:30 am in WH 203
  • Thurs 8:00-9:30 am in WH 203
  • Mon 1:00-2:00 pm in MC H300

Note: Classes at Brock University end ten minutes ahead of the hour or half hour to facilitate transfer time.


Maureen Reedyk (MC B205, ext. 3877, e-mail:

Course Communications:
In the event of class cancellations due to inclement weather please monitor the main Brock webpage. For class communications monitor your Brock email.

The marking scheme:
Component Weight
Assignments 20% Assigned during lecture.
Tutorial Work Sheets 20% Completed during Tutorial hour.
Midterm Test 20% During Lecture Period Thurs. Nov. 1, 2018
Examination 40% You must obtain a grade of 40% or greater on the final exam in order to pass the course

Important Dates:
The last date for withdrawal from this course without academic penalty is Tuesday 6 November, 2018. For other important dates see the Office of the Registrar's sessional or important dates.

  • Must be present in tutorial to obtain credit for tutorial work.
  • No late Assignments or Tutorial Work Sheets will be accepted.
  • The test and the examination will be based on material covered during lectures, tutorials and homework assignments.
  • Assignments, Test and Examination may be different for PHYS 3P41 and PHYS 5P11.
  • Topics may be covered in lectures, tutorials, assigned reading and/or assignments.
  • If your grade is less than 40% on the final exam your final grade can be no greater than 45, according to Registrar's Office policy. In this case, your reported final grade will be either your calculated final grade or 45, whichever is less.

Academic Policies:

Academic Integrity:

    All students must comply with Brock's academic misconduct policies . Academic misconduct is a serious offence. The principle of academic integrity, particularly of doing one’s own work, documenting properly (including use of quotation marks, appropriate paraphrasing and referencing/citation), collaborating appropriately, and avoiding misrepresentation, is a core principle in university study. Students should consult Section VII, “Academic Misconduct”, in the “Academic Regulations and University Policies” entry in the Undergraduate Calendar, available at Information on what constitutes academic integrity is available at .

Intellectual Property Notice:

    All slides, presentations, handouts, tests, exams, and other course materials created by the instructor in this course are the intellectual property of the instructor. A student who publicly posts or sells an instructor’s work, without the instructor’s express consent, may be charged with misconduct under Brock’s Academic Integrity Policy and/or Code of Conduct, and may also face adverse legal consequences for infringement of intellectual property rights.

Special Accommodation:

    The University is committed to fostering an inclusive and supportive environment for all students and will adhere to the Human Rights principles that ensure respect for dignity, individualized accommodation, inclusion and full participation. The University provides a wide range of resources to assist students, as follows: ​ a) If you require academic accommodation because of a disability or an ongoing health or mental health condition, please contact Student Accessibility Services at or 905 688 5550 ext. 3240. ​ b) If you require academic accommodation because of an incapacitating medical condition, you must, as soon as practicable, inform your instructor(s) of your inability to complete your academic work. You must also submit a Brock University Student Medical Certificate (found at ). The University may, at its discretion, request more detailed documentation in certain cases. If you are unable to write a scheduled examination due to an incapacitating medical condition, you must follow the process set out in the Faculty Handbook III:9.4.1. ​ c) If you are experiencing mental health concerns, contact the Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre. Good2Talk is a service specifically for post-secondary students, available 24/7, 365 days a year, and provides anonymous assistance: or call 1-866-925-5454. For information on wellness, coping and resiliency, visit: . ​ d) If you require academic accommodation on religious grounds, you should make a formal, written request to your instructor(s) for alternative dates and/or means of satisfying requirements. Such requests should be made during the first two weeks of any given academic term, or as soon as possible after a need for accommodation is known to exist. ​ e) If you have been affected by sexual violence, the Human Rights & Equity Office offers support, information, reasonable accommodations, and resources through the Sexual Violence Support & Education Coordinator. For information on sexual violence, visit Brock's Sexual Assault and Harassment Policy or contact the Sexual Violence Support & Response Coordinator at or 905 688 5550 ext. 4387. ​ f) If you feel you have experienced discrimination or harassment on any of the above grounds, including racial, gender or other forms of discrimination, contact the Human Rights and Equity Office at