Statistical physics has its origins in attempts to describe the thermal properties of matter in terms of its constituent particles, and has played a fundamental role in the development of quantum mechanics. Based on lectures taught by Professor Kardar at MIT, this textbook introduces the central concepts and tools of statistical physics. It contains a chapter on probability and related issues such as the central limit theorem and information theory, and covers interacting particles, with an extensive description of the van der Waals equation and its derivation by mean field approximation. It also contains an integrated set of problems, with solutions to selected problems at the end of the book and a complete set of solutions is available to lecturers on a password protected website at www.cambridge.org/9780521873420. A companion volume, Statistical Physics of Fields, discusses non-mean field aspects of scaling and critical phenomena, through the perspective of renormalization group.
1. Thermodynamics; 2. Probability; 3. Kinetic theory of gases; 4. Classical statistical mechanics; 5. Interacting particles; 6. Quantum statistical mechanics; 7. Ideal quantum gases; Solutions to selected problems; Index.
"In this much-needed modern text, Kardar presents a remarkably clear view of statistical mechanics as a whole, revealing the relationships between different parts of this diverse subject. In two volumes, the classical beginnings of thermodynamics are connected smoothly to a thoroughly modern view of fluctuation effects, stochastic dynamics, and renormalization and scaling theory. Students will appreciate the precision and clarity in which difficult concepts are presented in generality and by example. I particularly like the wealth of interesting and instructive problems inspired by diverse phenomena throughout physics (and beyond!), which illustrate the power and broad applicability of statistical mechanics."
Leon Balents, Department of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara
"… Statistical Physics of Fields is the welcome result of an innovative and popular graduate course Kardar has been teaching at MIT for almost twenty years. It is a masterful account of the essentials of a subject which played a vital role in the development of twentieth century physics … Statistical Physics of Fields builds on the foundation laid by the Statistical Physics of Particles, with an account of the revolutionary developments of the past 35 years, many of which were facilitated by renormalization group ideas. Much of the subject matter is inspired by problems in condensed matter physics, with a number of pioneering contributions originally due to Kardar himself."
David R Nelson, Arthur K Solomon Professor of Biophysics, Harvard University
"If Landau and Lifshitz were to prepare a new edition of their classic Statistical Physics text they might produce a book not unlike this gem by Mehran Kardar. Indeed, Kardar is an extremely rare scientist, being both brilliant in formalism and an astoundingly careful and thorough teacher. He demonstrates both aspects of his range of talents in this pair of books, which belong on the bookshelf of every serious student of theoretical statistical physics."
H Eugene Stanley, Director, Center for Polymer Studies, Boston University
"This is one of the most valuable textbook I have seen in a long time. Written by a leader in the field, it provides a crystal clear, elegant and comprehensive coverage of the field of statistical physics. I am sure this book will become the reference for the next generation of researchers, students and practitioners in statistical physics. I wish I had this book when I was a student but I will have the privilege to rely on it for my teaching."
Alessandro Vespignani, Center for Biocomplexity, Indiana University
"Over the past two decades, I have admired Kardar's contributions to theoretical physics, and now I admire his contribution to teaching physics. The first volume, Statistical Physics of Particles, is distinguished by its useful feature of teaching physics by example... the first eight chapters of Statistical Physics of Fields are stunning. With that volume Kardar has produced an excellent and unique textbook that will serve our community well for many years."
David Chandler, Physics Today