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NUS Physics Module Review: PC2230 Thermodynamics & Statistical Mechanics

IMO the most difficult of all the Y2 Physics modules. We covered Thermodynamics, Microcanonical Ensembles, Canonical Ensembles, Grand Canonical Ensembles, and Quantum Statistics.

At the same time, the content is very interesting; when you think about it, in real life what we really see are ensembles of particles, and so this is the module that really describes most of the phenomena we see around us. Clouds are ensembles of molecules, White Dwarfs are ensembles of fermions, but the underlying structure is the same.

The structure of the module is very similar to PC2134 (which you really really should take before this) with the difficult weekly assignments, two midterms and a final exam. For us, the first midterm was easy, the second difficult, and the finals back to easy.

Reif’s book was really invaluable for this course. Get your hands on this somehow. It really is one of the best Physics books I have read, even if the organization is kinda sloppy and he is a little cryptic at points. It helped me clarify a lot of misunderstandings that I had, and convince me of a lot of the finer points of the theory.

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