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Introduction to Modern Statistical Mechanics [Paperback]

David Chandler
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 17, 1987 0195042778 978-0195042771 1
Leading physical chemist David Chandler takes a new approach to statistical mechanics to provide the only introductory-level work on the modern topics of renormalization group theory, Monte Carlo simulations, time correlation functions, and liquid structure. The author provides compact summaries of the fundamentals of this branch of physics and discussions of many of its traditional elementary applications, interspersed with over 150 exercises and microcomputer programs.

A solutions manual for this text is available with ISBN: 9780195058895.

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Introduction to Modern Statistical Mechanics + Statistical Mechanics + An Introduction to Statistical Thermodynamics (Dover Books on Physics)
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Editorial Reviews


"The exposition is very clear, and although elementary, this book is an example of a text which requires a large degree of reader participation. . . . People teaching modern statistical physics will like the book and those who prefer a more traditional approach will be pleasantly surprised to see a new way in which all traditional subjects can be included in a textbook, so it can be a valuable tool in teaching any course of statistical physics." --Mathematical Reviews

"There is clearly a strong case for any textbook which seeks to provide a continuous thread from tradition to modernity. Chandler's book seems to be the first attempt at such a task....Suitable for undergraduates and first-year graduate students, [it] aims to provide an introduction to modern concepts and techniques in statistical mechanics without presupposing an undue degree of previous exposure to the subject. I strongly suspect that this book will prove popular with students and teachers alike."--The Times Higher Education Supplement

"Exactly what I was looking for. I will also use this in my graduate course."--Greg H. Zimmerman, Tennessee State University

"An excellent introduction emphasizing major modern topics such as Monte Carlo sampling, renormalization groups. and the fluctuation-dissipation theorem." --American Mathematical Monthly

"The text is clear and spare and addresses the latest developments in statistical mechanics in a manner an undergraduate could readily understand." --New Scientist

"A refreshing, lucid and much-needed textbook in an area which remains inaccessible to many students."--G. P. Matthews, Plymouth Polytechnic, England

"Chandler's book gives an excellent introduction to statistical mechanics, and is highly recommended to any student majoring in physics or chemistry." --SIAM Review

"The book is highly recommended for the excellent discussions that it contains." --American Scientist

"A breezy and enthusiastic guide with quite solid content. All in all this is an outstanding job." --Physics Today

"This is a book which pleases in many ways. The author's style is engaging, the questions sprinkled throughout the whole book are both entertaining and interesting." --Education in Chemistry

About the Author

David Chandler is at University of California, Berkeley.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (September 17, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195042778
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195042771
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 6.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #561,193 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Only modern stat mech book June 21, 1998
By A Customer
The best part of this book is that it is modern. You have chapters on Monte Carlo simulations, the Ising model, and more. You don't get long chapters on the partition function of an ideal gas, for example. The bad part about this book is that it is not immediately transparent if you're reading stat mech for the first time. I like it more the more I know about stat mech, but it's not a good beginner's book, and I think it's better to have another book with it - maybe Hill or McQuarrie - since it's not really that long either. Still, recommended (get the soln. manual too) with these caveats.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Caltech Graduate Student March 1, 2000
This was a great book. It covered the important material and left out all of the extra garbage that most books carry on for pages about. The presentation was done using clear mathematics and modern, easily followed notation. The book is short making it practical to actually read the entire book if you are extremely busy. We used the book in conjunction with Hill. I don't recommend Hill because it is hard to follow.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
By Reader
I used this book while taking the course for which this book was designed, Prof. Chandler's stat mech course for first year graduate students.

I agree with the reviewer who wrote that this book avoids a lot of filler that can distort the main thrust of the material at hand.

I disagree with the reviewer who wrote that this is not the book for a beginner. I used this book having studied undergrad p-chem but essentially no stat mech. Being a concise text, one must read carefully to extract the point of each paragraph. I sometimes found myself re-reading certain sections a few times in order to understand them. The abundant prose should be evidence that the author is trying to provide a physical picture to improve the scientific intuition of the reader.

This doesn't mean the book isn't for a beginner. It just means what you should already know: you will not learn stat mech by skimming any text just once with a pint of beer in your hand.

I constantly return to this book for review of thermo and stat mech concepts. For my grad qualifying exams I mostly used McQuarrie for general p-chem overview, but switched right back to IMSM for thermo and stat mech review.

If you're looking for a reference book with every possible stat mech problem worked out to help with your problem sets, this is not it. If you want to understand stat mech this book is the first step.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally--it all makes sense February 7, 2008
After learning almost nothing in my graduate course on stat mech taught by a famous physicist, I decided I would have to teach myself Stat Mech over the summer. When I found this book, I really started to make progress. Right away I got the big picture on what statistical mechanics is all about, and that made all the difference. I was able to work my way quickly through the book, doing the problems as they came along in text and understand almost everything.

I wasn't able to make it through the denser chapters at the end on nonequilibrium stat mech on my own, but the book was well worth the price and is one of my favorites. The explanations are pure gold.

A few tips for the reader:
1. Do the problems as your read. The best place for the problems in a textbook is in the text itself, not at the end of the chapter.

2. Get the solutions manual
I purchased the solutions manual so that I could check my solutions. It had about half the solutions and only half of them worked out in detail, but it was still very useful for getting started on some of the problems I wasn't sure how to approach.

3. Make a notation conversion chart
Some of the greek letters are different than the usual notation for physics courses, so I had to make a notation conversion chart on the front inside cover and that was very helpful.

4. If you find the book too hard, use Schroeder's book as an introduction.

5. Be prepared to see a missing spot on your shelf.
I'm constantly loaning this book out to people in my research group and other students.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Review by a Frustrated First-Year Grad Student September 13, 2009
By J. Carr
If this is your first time taking a grad-level course in statistical mechanics, this should not be your only book. Chandler's writing is incredibly difficult to follow and often frustrating unless you already have a decent grasp on the concepts. My impression is that if you already understand stat mech fairly well, the conciseness of this book may aid you in getting a "big picture" view of the most important methods and results of stat mech without the dross that tends to dilute other books. (One advantage in this regard is that Chandler often uses more general forms of statistical mechanics equations, e.g. not limiting work to P-V work in many contexts.) If you are looking to acquire an understanding of stat mech for the first time, try Statistical Mechanics by McQuarrie.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good reference book May 22, 2001
By A Customer
A clear, concise explanation of statistical mechanics. Some people may complain about the "concise" part--in many cases, mathematical exercises are left as exercises to the student. However, this practice allows the reader to really understand the material by doing, not just reading. I learned stat mech for the first time from this book, and only examined other texts (mcquarrie or hill) afterwards.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent textbook for stat mech
I first bought this textbook when taking a graduate level stat mech course. This book was recommended together with the textbook by Hill, I found this textbook to be, by far, the... Read more
Published 17 days ago by M. J. Niesen
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, concise statement of Stat Mech
This book is a model for graduate textbooks. It is clear, concise and interesting to read. The portions of the class I took that were covered by this book were made so much... Read more
Published 4 months ago by moratati
5.0 out of 5 stars My First Stat Mech Textbook
This is by far the most concise treatment of thermo and stat mech. I have came across. If you want something that goes to the point and is filled with gem, this is it. Read more
Published on November 17, 2011 by Student
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a good book for beginners
This book is very brief, and a nice reference to have, but I would not recommend for an introduction to statistical mechanics. Read more
Published on July 29, 2011 by Packer Fan
5.0 out of 5 stars the best
Chandler's "Introduction to Modern Statistical Mechanics" is a wonderful book: clear, complete, intense, enjoyable and short. Read more
Published on July 7, 2011 by Alberto Flor
5.0 out of 5 stars All you need to pass your graduate stat-mech physics class
My statistical mechanics class for my Physics PhD used about 4-5 books and the professor lectured from none of them but instead used his own notes. Read more
Published on January 25, 2011 by Glenn Strycker
4.0 out of 5 stars Novel thoughts but too concise
The book starts with an adiabatic system instead of isolated system, which makes the following derivation more pretty and casts a new insight into the stat. mech.. Read more
Published on October 12, 2008 by B. Hong
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good service
The book cover is in worse condition than I expected, but the contents are all there, and it came within a week of ordering.
Published on February 17, 2007 by E. Middleton
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