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Statistical Physics of Particles 1st Edition

14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521873420
ISBN-10: 0521873428
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Editorial Reviews


"In this much-needed modern text, Kardar presents a remarkably clear view of statistical mechanics as a whole, revealing the relationships between different parts of this diverse subject. In two volumes, the classical beginnings of thermodynamics are connected smoothly to a thoroughly modern view of fluctuation effects, stochastic dynamics, and renormalization and scaling theory. Students will appreciate the precision and clarity in which difficult concepts are presented in generality and by example. I particularly like the wealth of interesting and instructive problems inspired by diverse phenomena throughout physics (and beyond!), which illustrate the power and broad applicability of statistical mechanics."
Leon Balents, Department of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara

"... Statistical Physics of Fields is the welcome result of an innovative and popular graduate course Kardar has been teaching at MIT for almost twenty years. It is a masterful account of the essentials of a subject which played a vital role in the development of twentieth century physics ... Statistical Physics of Fields builds on the foundation laid by the Statistical Physics of Particles, with an account of the revolutionary developments of the past 35 years, many of which were facilitated by renormalization group ideas. Much of the subject matter is inspired by problems in condensed matter physics, with a number of pioneering contributions originally due to Kardar himself."
David R Nelson, Arthur K Solomon Professor of Biophysics, Harvard University

"If Landau and Lifshitz were to prepare a new edition of their classic Statistical Physics text they might produce a book not unlike this gem by Mehran Kardar. Indeed, Kardar is an extremely rare scientist, being both brilliant in formalism and an astoundingly careful and thorough teacher. He demonstrates both aspects of his range of talents in this pair of books, which belong on the bookshelf of every serious student of theoretical statistical physics."
H Eugene Stanley, Director, Center for Polymer Studies, Boston University

"This is one of the most valuable textbook I have seen in a long time. Written by a leader in the field, it provides a crystal clear, elegant and comprehensive coverage of the field of statistical physics. I am sure this book will become the reference for the next generation of researchers, students and practitioners in statistical physics. I wish I had this book when I was a student but I will have the privilege to rely on it for my teaching."
Alessandro Vespignani, Center for Biocomplexity, Indiana University

"Over the past two decades, I have admired Kardar's contributions to theoretical physics, and now I admire his contribution to teaching physics. The first volume, Statistical Physics of Particles, is distinguished by its useful feature of teaching physics by example... the first eight chapters of Statistical Physics of Fields are stunning. With that volume Kardar has produced an excellent and unique textbook that will serve our community well for many years."
David Chandler, Physics Today

Book Description

Based on lectures for a statistical mechanics course, this textbook introduces the central concepts and tools of statistical physics including solutions that are available to lecturers at A companion volume, discusses non-mean field aspects of scaling and critical phenomena, through the perspective of renormalization group.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (June 25, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521873428
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521873420
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.9 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #699,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Reader on December 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Perhaps I am a bit biased as I took Mehran Kardar's statistical mechanics class, but this is the best graduate-level statistical mechanics textbook I have looked at (including Pathria, Huang, and Landau). In the tradition of Landau's excellent mechanics textbook, Kardar is a master of statistical physics who starts with only basic assumptions about the nature of the physical laws in each chapter, and derives wonderful results elucidating the nature of statistical physics. The meat of the textbook is less than 200 pages and includes all of the basic results of thermodynamics, a section on probability, an introduction to kinetic theory, and the bulk of classical and quantum statistical mechanics; brevity is the soul of wit, as they say. A few areas could have used a little more elaboration (the derivation of the Boltzmann equation seemed to skip a few important steps in implementing the streaming collision terms, and a better explanation for the basics of diagrammatical techniques would have been nice), but none of the other books I have looked at even broached these topics in any depth. Unlike Landau's excellent statistical physics book, very little assumed knowledge is required to follow this textbook; obviously, skill in elementary algebra, calculus, differential equations, and a bit of Hamiltonian mechanics and a few very basic results of quantum mechanics are prerequisites. Recommended!
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Alf on April 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Ok, most of the reviews about this book are positive here. But some of them are precisely from Kardar students. And when I talk with my classmates (of a renowned physics grad school), we all agree that we do not like the book, so it seems weird that this book has so many positive reviews. The book is a good book in the sense that it covers many modern techniques, with a modern approach. However the most important fact about it is that it resembles more a set of class notes than a comprehensive book. It is way to concise to really explain what is happening, and some parts are just pulled out of a magicians hat. Some of its explanations leave the student with a religious perspective about the topic: "I did not really understand how this works, but I'm sure the holy spirit will make it work".

It barely has examples to explain some complex ideas. Chapter 3 is obscure, although it does point out some very important details that no other book points. Chapter 5 should be given much more attention, to explain in detail and with more examples some of the ideas. Some parts of it are just very hard to understand. Probably if one attends to Kardar lectures and uses his book, the combination is great, but for self study this book is not good at all.

There is people that praise that this book is concise, so it is good. I tell them, a book should not necessarily be concise. A book should be a reference that one can go back to, and as such, it should cover in detail all the topics that it covers. A book is not a set of class notes.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Garrett on February 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I used both this text and Pathria for a graduate level class in statistical mechanics. Kardar's treatment is very modern and has a wonderful perspective. However, it is very mathematical while managing to not be very thorough. The problems were very good and the worked solutions in the back were quite helpful. For the material covered in this book, I preferred Pathria, which was in general far more thorough.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Oleksiy Onishchenko on September 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This book is only useful if you already know statistical mechanics. It's essentially impossible to learn the subject from it. Kardar introduces new terms without defining them, uses complicated notation without explaining it, applies approximations without justifying or even mentioning them, and gives no examples. This book is an excellent illustration of how to not write textbooks. Any ideas in physics are only as complicated as the author describes them. Paraphrasing Richard Feynman, "If I cannot explain a subject to a college freshman, I don't understand it myself", it is obvious that Kardar's description of stat mech is nowhere near to being accessible to not only a freshman, but essentially anybody but experts in the field. This destroys the purpose of a textbook in principle, because if you're an expert, you don't take a course, you teach it. Prof. Kardar fails pretty badly in terms of logical presentation of the subject
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RPG on September 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover
The previous review that described this book as a set of class notes rather than a textbook was precisely on the mark.

It looked like a good book, and I had used the second volume ('Fields') before and found it worthwhile, so I selected 'Particles' for my class. However, as we worked through it, it soon became clear that 'Particles' is a lifeless book. It is a compendium of the usual topics, but it does not seek to transmit insights or enthusiasm for the material.

Nor does it display any understanding of a typical graduate student's needs and abilities. Students turn to textbooks when (as often happens) a lecture is not clear; the textbook's slightly different approach to the same issue is what helps to clarify the matter. A textbook writer must feel a responsibility to explain, not merely to present the math correctly.

If the reviews by former students are genuine, the author is a good teacher in the classroom. However, he has not made any effort to be pedagogical in this book. Indeed, many teachers prepare class notes that are used as supplementary material to reduce the need for notetaking, but which are sparse and don't capture the spirit of the lectures. Usually, however, those notes don't get published.
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