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Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics 56946th Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Perhaps the best praise I can give this book is that not only did it teach me stat mech, it really sparked my interest in the field of condensed matter physics, enough to contemplate my choosing this as a research topic in grad school.
I continually look to Reif when more "advanced" books fumble explanations. With the firm conceptual grounding I get there, I can then intuit what other authors are trying to convey. How many astute readers of other thermodynamics textbooks have any idea when Boltzmann's canonical distribution can be used? Or who know the difference between this and Boltzmann's equation?
If you are an instructor, the illuminating end-of-chapter problems will be a boon. If you are a student, they will also be, yet less appreciated likely. No matter who you are, if you want to really know thermo and stat mech and are willing to _think_, then buy this book before some competing, flashy, colorized textbook drives it out of print.
The aforementioned caveats aside, it is difficult for me to imagine a better text for a first-year graduate level course in thermodynamics. The book flows well. I found myself flying through the chapters. The problems seem difficult, but I think that has to do with the style of the questions, because, by the time you are half way through the book, the problems seem to get easier.
My single complaint about the book was that there is too much math in some areas where more words are needed. In particular, I think there needed to be more explanation given when discussing the differential equations associated with C-sub v and C-sub p. It got to the point where my professor was confused. This is possibly the only error in the book, as far as I am aware, but, then again, it might not have been an error. This book is, otherwise, a conceptually outstanding book.
What I found interesting about this book, since the thermal physics was represented from an entirely statistical perspective, is that I realized that the thermodynamics of the 19th century through the turn of the 20th century are philosophically reducible to the modern conception of thermodynamics from a wholly statistical point of view. I thought that this was very interesting from a philosophy of physics standpoint.
2. My personal comments on the book
I am a physical chemist who managed to get through college and graduate school without taking a serious course in thermodynamics. For some reason I never warmed up to that subject and I avoided it like the plague. When I was at Berkeley they offered an option for first year grad students to "test out" of the mandatory thermodynamics course. By cramming from Callen I managed to pass that test and avoid learning my least favorite subject. While at Berkeley I took a 1-semester course on Statistical Mechanics taught from Pathria, and I didn't get much out of that either. I did, however, buy a copy of Reif's 1965 book while in grad school and used it as an occasional reference over the years, but without deep understanding. I promised one day to study it like a college student, and after 25 years I finally got around to it. I worked through the entire book, stopping at the end of each chapter to attempt most of the problems. I was very impressed with Reif's exposition and the quality of most of the problems. (The answers to selected problems at back of book are very cryptic and contain a few typos - I think ;) - but they were still extremely valuable to keep me on track.)
I was amused by Reif's comment in the Preface that "an author never finishes a book, he merely abandons it." While reading, I kept an eye out for what Reif might have been referring to when he wrote that comment. For sure, Ch. 14 did not work for me. I suspect that Reif would have done a major overhaul on Ch. 14 if he had done a second edition. Ch.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Don't really know how to rate this book as it was gift to my nerdy older brother. He likes to study physics and other nerdy things. It's great for nerds!Published 2 months ago by Brian
This is a classic text. If you want a comprehensive and well written introduction at the advanced undergraduate or graduate level to the subjects of statistical and thermal... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Critic at large
This book is a traditional's book in statistical Physics, however, have a great formalism which allow us fill out some question.
Let's start to study !
Written for experimentalists, fairly detailed explanation, simple math inside. But lack of some modern content such as renormalisation group theory, scaling theory etc.Published 13 months ago by Jianlong Li
The product was as described. I was very happy with and would buy from this dealer again.Published 18 months ago by Robin F
This a classic, detailed sophomore-level physics text on Statistical and Thermodynamics. It also works well with Introductory/modern physics courses. Read morePublished 20 months ago by CURE
Surprisingly a great book. A very good introduction to a really difficult topic. The only con I have is that it could definitely use more example problems, but it's very easy to... Read morePublished 22 months ago by May P.