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physics course for non-physicist complex systems researchers

Physics in the science of complex systems – draft 0

The lectures are organized in lessons within thematic courses.

General introduction

Thermal and statistical physics

The main chapters are copied from the courses of Harvey Gould and Jan Tobochnik , Clark University, Worcester, MA, USA. If not, the source is precised intobrackets.

(External Link)

1.1 from microscopic to macroscopic behavior: statistical physics

Lesson 1

  • Introduction
  • Some qualitative observations
  • Doing work
  • Quality of energy

Lesson 2

  • Some simple simulations
  • Work, heating, and the first law of thermodynamics
  • The fundamental need for statistical approach
  • Time and ensemble averages

Lesson 3

  • Models of matter

The ideal gas

Interparticle potentials

Lattice models

  • Importance of simulations
  • Summary

Additional problems

Suggestions for further reading

1.2 thermodynamic concepts

Lesson 4

  • Introduction
  • The system
  • Thermodynamic equilibrium
  • Temperature
  • Pressure equation of state

Lesson 5

  • Some thermodynamic processes
  • Work
  • The first law of thermodynamics
  • Energy equation of state

Lesson 6

  • Heat capacity and enthalpy
  • Adiabatic processes
  • The second law of thermodynamics
  • The thermodynamic temperature

Lesson 7

  • The second law and heat engine
  • Entropy changes
  • Equivalence of thermodynamic and ideal gas scale temperatures
  • The thermodynamic pressure

Lesson 8

  • The fundamental thermodynamic relation
  • The entropy of an ideal gas
  • The third law of thermodynamics
  • Free energies

Additional problems

Suggestions for further reading

1.3 statistical mechanics

Lesson 9

  • Introduction
  • A simple example of a thermal interaction
  • Counting microstates

Non-interacting spins

One-dimensional Ising model

A particle in a one-dimensional box

One-dimensional harmonic oscillator

A particle in a two-dimensional box

Two non-interacting identical particles and the semi-classical limit

Lesson 10

  • The number of states of N non-interacting particles: semi- classical limit
  • The microcanonical ensemble (fixed E, V, and N)
  • Systems in contact with a heat bath: the canonical ensemble (fixed T, V, and N)
  • Connection between statistical mechanics and thermodynamics

Lesson 11

  • Simple applications of the canonical ensemble
  • Example of a simple thermometer
  • Simulations of the microcanonical ensemble
  • Simulations of the canonical ensemble

Lesson 12

  • Grand canonical ensemble (fixed T, V, and )
  • Entropy and disorder
  • The volume of a hypersphere
  • Fluctuations in the canonical ensemble
  • Molecular dynamics

(Course from North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA:

(External Link) )

Additional problems

Suggestions for further reading

1.4 thermodynamic relations and processes

Lesson 13

1.4.1 Introduction

1.4.2 Maxwell relations

1.4.3 Applications of the Maxwell relations

Internal energy of an ideal gas

Relation between the specific heats

Lesson 14

1.4.4 Applications to irreversible processes

The Joule or free expansion process

Joule-Thomson process

  • Equilibrium between phases

Equilibrium conditions

Clausius-Clapeyron equation

Simple phase diagrams

Pressure dependence of the melting point

Pressure dependence of the boiling point

The vapor pressure curve

Lesson 15

  • Lattice gas and Ising model

(Introduction to lattice gas from Victor Batista, Chemistry department, Yale University, New Haven, NE, USA:

(External Link) )

(Applet of ising model, from A. Peter young, Physics department, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA:

http://bartok.ucsc.edu/peter/java/ising/keep/ ising.html)

  • Phase transitions

(Generalities from Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Phase_transition)

  • A geometric phase transition: percolation

(Lectures notes from the MIT NSE Virtual Reading Room, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA:

(External Link) )

Lesson 16

  • Brownian motion

(Introduction from the physics department of the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia:

http://www.physics.uq.edu.au/people/mcintyre/ php/laboratories/download_file.php?eid=38)

  • Chaos and self-organization

(Introduction to chaos theory from the center of complex quantum systems, University of Texas, Austin, TX, USA:

(External Link)

Generalities from Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self- organization)

Lesson 17

  • Fractals

(Introduction from Michael Frame, Benoit Mandelbrot, and Nial Neger, Yale University, New Haven, NE, USA:


  • Sand Piles

(Introduction from Benoît Masson, Laboratoire Informatique Signaux et systèmes of Sofia Antipolis, France, EU:

(External Link) )

  • Spin glasses

(Short introduction&references from Daniel Stariolo, Instituto de Fisica, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande doSul, Porto Alegre, Brazil:

(External Link) )

Additional problems

Suggestions for further reading

Quantum physics made relatively simple

Hans Bethe, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA

Presentation of quantum theory and mechanics through their histories.

(External Link)

3 courses of about 45-50 mn

Video and audio versions

Slides are presented in parallel to the video documents

2.1 “old quantum theory”: 1900 – 1915

2.2 quantum mechanics: 1924 – 1928

2.3 interpretation works on the wave function, the heisenberg uncertainty principle, and the pauli exclusion principle

Suggestions for further reading

Questions & Answers

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
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Source:  OpenStax, Class. OpenStax CNX. Dec 24, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11261/1.3
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