• Class Number 7327
  • Term Code 3160
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Vladimir Mangazeev
    • Prof John Close
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 26/07/2021
  • Class End Date 29/10/2021
  • Census Date 14/09/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2021
SELT Survey Results

This core third year physics course develops statistical mechanics and condensed matter physics. It is based on the textbook Introduction to Statistical Physics by Kerson Huang, and will cover thermodynamics and the various ensembles in statistical physics. We then move onto phase transitions, noise, the Langevin equation, and quantum systems such as Bose and Fermi gases. To conclude we examine order parameters, superconductivity and superfluidity. It is a course of essential importance for all students wishing to understand condensed matter and many-body systems.

This course is one of the 3rd year options for the physics major, and is recommended for those intending to do honours in Physics.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Apply classical equilibrium thermodynamics to make physical predictions.
  2. Describe the effects of quantum mechanics on statistical mechanics.
  3. Use computer simulation techniques to model physical systems with noise, such as the Langevin equation.
  4. Apply statistical mechanics to condensed matter systems and to such examples as the Bose and Fermi gases, and superconductors.
  5. Explain how the order parameter is used in describing phase transitions.

Research-Led Teaching

This course covers all the important parts of classical thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. On top of this we introduce computer simulations and examine the applications of statistical physics to systems well-outside of traditional physics - forest fires, financial systems, models of human populations etc.  We finish off by looking at applications of statphys to condensed matter systems via the Landau-Ginzburg theory of phase transitions, Bose-Einsten condensation, superfluidity and superconductivity. By the end of this course students should be able to apply the techniques of thermodynamics and statistical physics to a broad range of physical (and in some cases non-physical) systems.

Required Resources

Introduction to Statistical Physics by Kerson Huang, 2nd edition, CRC press, ISBN 978-1-4200-7902-9

Recommended student system requirements 

ANU courses commonly use a number of online resources and activities including:

  • video material, similar to YouTube, for lectures and other instruction
  • two-way video conferencing for interactive learning
  • email and other messaging tools for communication
  • interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities
  • print and photo/scan for handwritten work
  • home-based assessment.

To fully participate in ANU learning, students need:

  • A computer or laptop. Mobile devices may work well but in some situations a computer/laptop may be more appropriate.
  • Webcam
  • Speakers and a microphone (e.g. headset)
  • Reliable, stable internet connection. Broadband recommended. If using a mobile network or wi-fi then check performance is adequate.
  • Suitable location with minimal interruptions and adequate privacy for classes and assessments.
  • Printing, and photo/scanning equipment

For more information please see https://www.anu.edu.au/students/systems/recommended-student-system-requirements

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 The face-to face component of this course has been adjusted for remote delivery. Lectures are prerecorded and relevant materials will be provided to students on Wattle. The weekly workshop will be delivered on campus and simultaneously by Zoom

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Wattle Quizzes 10 % * * 1,2,4,5
Short Wattle Quizzes 5 % * * 1,2,4,5
Tutorial Homework Questions 10 % * * 1,2,4,5
One Traditional problems assignment 5 % * * 1,2,4,5
Computational Projects 4 % 15/10/2021 * 3
Essay or Video 6 % 22/10/2021 * 1,2,3,4,5
Mid-semester exam 25 % 30/08/2021 24/09/2021 1,2,3,4,5
Final Exam 35 % 04/11/2021 02/12/2021 1,2,3,4,5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


This course has been adjusted for remote participation. All lectures will be supplied as pdf files together with live or ZOOM video recordings. All assessment will be done online including quizzes, assignments and presentation. Examinations will be in dual mode: in class and via ZOOM sessions. Remote students are requested to provide uninterrrupted video in ZOOM during the exam. They need to scan and upload on Wattle their workings after the exam.


Please refer to the ANU examination timetable for exam scheduling.

Please note, that where a date range is used in the Assessment Summary in relation to exams, the due date and return date for mid-semester exams indicate the approximate timeframe in which the exam will be held; the due and return date for end of semester exams indicate the approximate timeframe in which the exam will be held and the date official end of Semester results are released on ISIS. Students should consult the course wattle site and the ANU final examination timetable to confirm the date, time and venue of the exam.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4,5

Wattle Quizzes

There are two Wattle quizzes per week. They will be marked automatically upon completion. There are approximately 24 of each tasks due over the semester. Further details can be found on the Course Wattle site.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 5 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4,5

Short Wattle Quizzes

There are four short Wattle quizzes per week. Each has one simple question and will be marked automatically upon completion. There are approximately 48 of each tasks due over the semester. Further details can be found on the Course Wattle site.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4,5

Tutorial Homework Questions

There is one Tute homework question per week. Students should upload their written solution on Wattle by the next tutorial. They will be manually marked within one week.

There are approximately 11 of each tasks due over the semester. Further details can be found on the Course Wattle site. Students are expected to contribute on an on-going basis throughout the semester.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 5 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4,5

One Traditional problems assignment

One traditional assignment will test students' understanding of the studied material. It will be submitted online and the marked assignments will be returned one week after submission.

Due: Friday Week 10

Assessment Task 5

Value: 4 %
Due Date: 15/10/2021
Learning Outcomes: 3

Computational Projects

There will be computational Projects testing the ability to apply computational methods for analysis of statistical systems. Students will write a computer code, output some data and draw some graphs on a chosen topic. There will be two projects due over the semester.

Project 1 due date: Friday Week 6

Project 2 due date: Friday Week 8

It is expected that marked projects will be returned within 2 weeks from submission.

Assessment Task 6

Value: 6 %
Due Date: 22/10/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Essay or Video

There will be one open-ended assignment in the form of a written report or video. It can be based on a computer simulation or learning a topic not covered in lectures. Further details can be found on the Course Wattle site.

Due: Friday Week 11

Assessment Task 7

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 30/08/2021
Return of Assessment: 24/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Mid-semester exam

The date range is an general indication of when the mid-semester exam will be held. Please check the course Wattle site and the ANU Examination Timetable to confirm the date, time and location of the end of semester exam.

Assessment Task 8

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 04/11/2021
Return of Assessment: 02/12/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Final Exam

The date range indicates the start of the end of semester exam period and the date official end of semester results are released on ISIS. Please check the course Wattle site and the ANU final Examination Timetable http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/examination-timetable to confirm the date, time and location of the exam.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission of online quizzes is not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission of written tasks is permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

All written assignments will be returned via Wattle.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Resubmittion of assignments is not permitted.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

AsPr Vladimir Mangazeev

Research Interests

  • Integrable Systems
  • Statistical Mechanics
  • Quantum Field Theory
  • Conformal Field Theory
  • Physical Combinatorics
  • Mathematical Methods in Physics

AsPr Vladimir Mangazeev

By Appointment
Prof John Close

Research Interests

Prof John Close

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions