• Offered by Physics Education Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Physics
  • Areas of interest Physics
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2017
    See Future Offerings

This course consists of an initial compulsory component, followed by a choice of units in the second half of the semester. This initial unit reviews basic topics in equilibrium statistical mechanics. This includes thermodynamical quantities (entropy, energy, temperature, pressure, volume), ensembles (microcanonical, canonical, grand canonical), partition functions, classical ideal gases, equations of state, kinetic theory, van der Waals gases, quantum ideal gases (bosonic and fermionic), blackbody radiation, phonons, Bose-Einstein condensates, and degenerate Fermi gases (white dwarves). One of the principal aims is to introduce the idea of a phase transition using the example of a low-temperature Bose-Einstein condensate.

Topics available in the second half of the course include:
Entropy, Order Parameters and Complexity - This topic will cover basic and advanced topics of statistical mechanics with a strong focus on cross-disciplinary application of the theory. It will include topics such as continous phase transitions, percolation theory and the different interpretations of Entropy.
Electronics - This topic will tie together much of the physics learnt as an undergraduate in a practical setting. It will introduce the students to electronics practice in a physics research laboratory environment. The course concentrates on the processing of analog signals. Linear circuits are reviewed before moving on to active circuits. The active circuits are primarily investigated using operational amplifiers, though simple transistor circuits are also used. Concepts such as negative feedback, dynamic range, signal to noise ratios, filtering and analog to digital conversion are explored.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

At the completion of this subject, students should have the skills and knowledge to:

1. Use the formalism of statistical mechanics and probability theory to derive relations between thermodynamical quantities.
2. Develop useful approximations that describe the statistical behaviour of classical and quantum many-body systems.
3. Discuss the microscopic meaning of phase transitions in statistical many-body systems.
4. Understand, evaluate and describe the theories, concepts and principles of the current knowledge for the chosen topic.
5. Master appropriate analytical, theoretical and/or practical techniques to further their understanding and skills in the chosen topic.

Indicative Assessment

Assignments/Labwork (40%) (LO1-5)
Exam (60%) (LO1-5)

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The course will consist of lectures and tutorials. Total workload (including homework and study) will be kept to 8 hours per week, with typically 3 contact hours per week.

Requisite and Incompatibility

You will need to contact the Physics Education Centre to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

Assumed Knowledge

Students will be expected to have completed an undergraduate degree, with a major in Physics.



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $3444
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $4590
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4946 20 Feb 2017 27 Feb 2017 31 Mar 2017 26 May 2017 In Person N/A

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