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Statistical Physics

  • 7.5 credits

What exactly happens when ice melts or water boils and a substance changes phase? Often a very small change in some external parameter makes a big difference to the properties of a material. In this course you will understand these phase transitions both qualitatively and quantitatively within the framework provided by Equilibrium Statistical Physics.

This course describes the thermal properties of several systems in equilibrium with an emphasis on explaining the phenomena of Phase transitions. The models and their relevance for physical systems that are treated include: the Ising model, the Van-der-Waals fluid and some introduction to the XY and Heisenberg models. Some of the topics covered are convexity properties of the Free energy, methods for exact solutions, order parameters, mean-field theories, the Landau theory of phase transition and its limitations, spontaneous symmetry breaking, first and second order phase transitions, scaling and universality classes and the Kosterlitz Thouless phase transition.

  • Course structure

    This is a second cycle course given at half speed during daytime. This course can also be taken as a third cycle course.

    Teaching format

    The teaching consists of lectures and problem solving sessions.


    The course is examined by a final written examination, and continual assessment through weekly hand-in assignments which can earn the students some bonus points.


    Supriya Krishnamurthy, tel: 08 5537 8741, e-mail:


    Supriya Krishnamurthy, tel: 08 5537 8741, e-mail:

    Problem sessions:

    Sreekanth Manikandan, e-mail:


  • Schedule

    This is a preliminary schedule and is subject to continuous change. For this reason, we do not recommend print-outs. At the start of the course, your institution will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.

    Schema FK7058 Spring 2020

  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    “Lectures on Phase Transitions and the Renormalization Group,” by Nigel Goldenfeld, Addison Wesley (1992)

  • Contact

    Academic advisor at the Department of Physics: