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Statistical Thermodynamics

Second Edition

Andrew Maczek and Anthony Meijer

Publication Date - 01 August 2017

ISBN: 9780198777489

128 pages
9.7 x 7.4 inches

This self-contained primer covers statistical thermodynamics in a rigorous yet approachable manner, making it the perfect text for undergraduates


The renowned Oxford Chemistry Primers series, which provides focused introductions to a range of important topics in chemistry, has been refreshed and updated to suit the needs of today's students, lecturers, and postgraduate researchers. The rigorous, yet accessible, treatment of each subject area is ideal for those wanting a primer in a given topic to prepare them for more advanced study or research.

The learning features provided, including end-of-book problems and online multiple-choice questions, encourage active learning and promote understanding. Furthermore, frequent diagrams and marginal notes help to enhance students' understanding of these essential areas of chemistry.

Statistical Thermodynamics gives a concise and accessible account of this fundamental topic by emphasizing the underlying physical chemistry, and using this to introduce the mathematics in an approachable way. The material is presented in short, self-contained sections, making it flexible to teach and learn from, and concludes with the application of the theory to real systems.

The Online Resource Center to accompany Statistical Thermodynamics features:

For Instructors:
*Figures from the book available to download

For students:
*Worked solutions to the questions and problems at the end of the book
*Multiple-choice questions for self-directed learning


  • Focused introductions designed to give students an in-depth understanding of a diverse range of important topics in modern chemistry
  • Frequent diagrams and margin notes support students in their learning
  • Questions at the end of the book and interactive online questions encourage active learning and promote deep understanding
  • A focus on the underlying physical chemistry helps introduce the mathematics in an approachable way
  • Short, self-contained chapters means the text is digestible for students to learn from, and flexible for lecturers to teach from

About the Author(s)

Andrew Maczek was Senior Lecturer in Physical Chemistry at the University of Sheffield, where his research focused on the thermophysical behaviour of fluids. He obtained his first degree in Chemistry at the University of Oxford, where he stayed on to obtain his DPhil in Inorganic Chemistry with Courtney Philips. During a postdoctoral period at the University of Leeds he came under the influence of Peter Gray and happily converted to become a physical chemist. The first edition of this Primer was written during the years while he was actively engaged in academic pursuits at Sheffield.

Anthony Meijer is a reader in Theoretical Chemistry at the University of Sheffield, where he and his research group work on the theoretical study of chemical reactions using both electronic structure and quantum dynamics methods for a wide variety of systems from the formation of molecules in the interstellar medium to the vibrational control of electronically excited states. He obtained an MSc in Chemistry from the University of Utrecht before obtaining a PhD with Ad van der Avoird at the University of Nijmegen. He has been at Sheffield for the past 13 years.

Table of Contents

    1. The Boltzmann law
    2. Sum over states: the molecular partition function
    3. Applications of the molecular partition function
    4. From molecule to mole: the canonical partition function
    5. Distinguishable and indistinguishable particles
    6. Two-level systems: a case study
    7. Thermodynamic functions: towards a statistical toolkit
    8. The ideal monatomic gas: the translational partition function
    9. The ideal diatomic gas: internal degrees of freedom
    10. The ideal diatomic gas: the rotational partition function
    11. ortho and para spin states: a case study
    12. The ideal diatomic gas: the vibrational partition function
    13. The electronic partition function
    14. Heat capacity and Third Law entropy: two case studies
    15. Calculating equilibrium constants
    Questions and Problems
    Additional Mathematical Aspects