© 2015

An Introduction to Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics


Part of the UNITEXT for Physics book series (UNITEXTPH)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vii
  2. Piero Olla
    Pages 1-3
  3. Piero Olla
    Pages 5-40
  4. Piero Olla
    Pages 41-78
  5. Piero Olla
    Pages 79-123
  6. Piero Olla
    Pages 155-182
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 183-185

About this book


This textbook offers an advanced undergraduate or initial graduate level introduction to topics such as kinetic theory, equilibrium statistical mechanics, and the theory of fluctuations from a modern perspective. The aim is to provide the reader with the necessary tools of probability theory and thermodynamics (especially the thermodynamic potentials) to enable subsequent study at advanced graduate level. At the same time, the book offers a bird's eye view on arguments that are often disregarded in the main curriculum courses. Further features include a focus on the interdisciplinary nature of the subject and in-depth discussion of alternative interpretations of the concept of entropy. While some familiarity with basic concepts of thermodynamics and probability theory is assumed, this does not extend beyond what is commonly obtained in basic undergraduate curriculum courses.


Entropy Explained Entropy and Thermodynamic Equilibrium Entropy in Kinetic Theory Equilibrium Statistical Mechanics Micro-macro Issue Modern Perspective of Kinetic Theory Non-equilibrium Processes Textbook Statistical Physics Textbook Thermodynamics The Wiener-Khinchin Theorem

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.ISAC-CNRMonserratoItaly

About the authors

Piero Olla (born in Bolzano in 1960) received his PhD in Physics at the University of California Santa Cruz and was later a post-doc at the University of Chicago in the group of Prof. L.P. Kadanoff. Dr. Olla is a researcher at ISAC-CNR and teaches the course "Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics" at the Physics Department of the University of Cagliari. His research interests are divided almost equally among turbulence theory, low Reynolds number hydrodynamics and population dynamics.

Bibliographic information

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From the book reviews:

“This is an elementary (but very interesting) basic introduction to the road from microscopic physics to macroscopic physics via statistical physics. … It begins with a review of the essential prerequisite of probability and statistics. And the main topics which are dealt with are successively kinetic theory, thermodynamics, equilibrium statistical mechanics and the theory of fluctuations. A nice book for undergraduate courses.” (Guy Jumarie, zbMATH, Vol. 1302, 2015)