Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia

Statistical Physics



Academic unit

Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia


Departamento de Física



Teacher in charge

Gregoire Marie Jean Bonfait

Weekly hours


Total hours


Teaching language



This is an undergraduate course in statistical physics.  From the postulates and methods of statistical physics the laws of thermodynamics are derived. This should lead to a deeper understanding of the statistical nature of the thermodynamic laws. Another important aim of the course is to apply the methods of statistical physics to a wide range of interesting problems.




Mechanics, Thermodynamics

Subject matter

1.Random Walk. Probability and statistics

2. Fundamentals of Thermodynamics.

3. Microcanonical statistics.

4. Canonical statistics

5 The Perfect classical Gas

6. Grande Canonical statistics. Quantum statistics

7. Sommerfeld model for electrons in metals



Casquilho, J.P e Cortez Teixeira P.I.., Introdução à Física Estatística,  IST Press, Coleção Ensino da Ciência e da Tecnologia (2011)

Hand written notes of Prof Bonfait

Mandl, Statistical Physics, 2nd edition (Wyley, 1988)

Higher level: Reif, F., Statistical and Thermal Physics (McGraw-Hill, 1985).

Teaching method

Exposition of the "theory" for 45 min. On blackborad only (almost)

Application exercises during the rest of the class. The first exercises are very "basic" in order to clarify and stabilize the concepts introduced during the first part of the lesson.

  During these two parts, questions are made to probe and correct (mis-) understanding that students have about some phenomena.

Evaluation method

The student must be present at 2/3 of the sessions.

3 Tests. Final classification is the mean values of the 3 classifications. Bonus (+1) if the 3 classifications are higher ou equal to 10 (/20)

Second chance: exame