Basics of Statistical Physics

Willem J. Briels, J.K.G. Dhont

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


Statistical physics is the theory that relates macroscopic properties of materials to their microscopic constitution. Obviously a detailed study of systems containing on the order of 1023 particles is out of the question, actually even useless, so we must resort to statistical methods. There are many ways to introduce statistical mechanics, of which we will present two. Besides this, there are several different ‘models’, called ensembles, to arrive at a relation between microscopic and macroscopic properties of materials. Although these ensembles in principle are different, for sufficiently large systems they provide identical results. While developing statistical physics we will automatically construct thermodynamics, a macroscopic theory of invaluable help in describing for example phase transitions. In principle no knowledge of thermodynamics is assumed in order to understand the present notes, although obviously it will be of great help to have some acquaintance with it.
Original languageUndefined
Title of host publicationSoft Matter at Aqueous Interfaces
EditorsP.R. Lang, Yi Liu
Number of pages31
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-24500-3
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NameLecture notes in physics
PublisherSpringer International Publishing


  • IR-99638
  • METIS-314571

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