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Thermal Physics (2nd Edition) [Hardcover]

Charles Kittel , Herbert Kroemer
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 15, 1980 0716710889 978-0716710882 Second Edition
For upper-division courses in thermodynamics or statistical mechanics, Kittel and Kroemer offers a modern approach to thermal physics that is based on the idea that all physical systems can be described in terms of their discrete quantum states, rather than drawing on 19th-century classical mechanics concepts.

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Thermal Physics (2nd Edition) + Introduction to Quantum Mechanics (2nd Edition) + Introduction to Electrodynamics (4th Edition)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: W. H. Freeman; Second Edition edition (January 15, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0716710889
  • ISBN-13: 978-0716710882
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 7.5 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #280,635 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fresh Look at a Beautiful Subject December 2, 2001
This is by far THE BEST textbook on the subject. As many people say, thermodynamics is a subject that one has to learn at least three times. I can easily understand the very negative review from the undergraduate student at Berkely. The subject itself is hard, and simply is not for everyone, not for the first run at least. I say this from experience. I earned a Ph.D. degree over ten years ago, and took courses on thermodynamics at both undergraduate and graduate levels. I didn't understand the subject at all, and didn't find much use in my thesis work. However, something about the subject has kept me going back to it ever since. I now own about 40 books on the subject, and use the ideas almost daily in my research. I discovered Kittel-Kroemer only recently, and have found it absolutely great. The book took an unconventional approach, as the authors explained well in the Preface and the Introduction. This approach makes the central concept, the entropy, as well as the derived ideas, the temperature, the chemical potential and the Boltzmann factor, so clear that one has to wonder why they are obscure in many other books. I find this approach the most direct and satisfying. The book contains a wonderful collection of examples. The book is written with authority and great care. It is beautifully produced, and a joy to read. (My copy hasn't fall apart, and doesn't look it ever will!) If there is a new edition, I'd like to see more links to thermodybnamics in practice. Some rudimentary description of measurements of basic quantities will further enhance the book. A few device examples, in addition to the battery, will help to make the connection. The beautiful logic structure notwithstanding, thermodyanmics is an experimental sceince. Some quantities are easy to calculate, others are easy to measure. Read more ›
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unclear and unhelpful October 24, 2005
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a textbook for an undergraduate course on thermal physics, this offering is quite poor. The authors lack the gift of clearly communicating their (obviously quite good) understanding of thermal physics; the writing, particularly when explaining what should be simple concepts, is dense and opaque. Figures often function as nothing more than page-fillers, and do not serve to clarify the text. Important results are scattered, in many cases not even set off from the main text with any sort of visual cue. The problems for each section (and the text itself) will frequently bring in detailed information from other areas of physics or chemistry without making any attempt to explain its relation to the subject at hand. The authors often use the problems as extensions to the text, adding a half page of extraneous commentary after asking a question that takes a single line to state. As another reviewer remarked, the problems in general can take an hour to interpret and five minutes to solve. Overall, the book is very wordy when it doesn't need to be, confusing, and difficult to use.

If you are an undergraduate taking a first class in thermal physics, it will be a tremendous chore to learn it from this book.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful job March 18, 2002
After so many years in print, and being used by so many students, this book has become a classic in undergraduate statistical mechanics. It is indeed a fine book, and one that will no doubt remain as a standard text in statistical mechanics in years to come. The authors motivate the subject well, and they at all times explain the physics behind the mathematics. So often in textbooks, even at the undergraduate level, the physical intuition gets lost behind the mathematical formalism. Although the book is addressed to an audience of undergraduate physics majors, it could be read profitably by those in other fields, particularly in the biological sciences.

Some of the parts I found particularly well-writtten include the discussions on: 1. The sharpness of the multiplicity function and its connection with the stability of physical properties. 2. The zipper problem as a model of the unwinding of the DNA molecule ( an assigned problem). 3. The ascent of sap in trees (an assigned problem). 4. Bose-Einstein distribution function and the Einstein condensation temperature. Given the exciting developments in this area, this discussion is particularly enlightening. 5. Quasiparticles and superfluidity. This is a nice job here, given the level of the text. 6. The Landau theory of phase transitions. 7. Semiconductor statistics. 8. The Boltzmann transport equation. Because of its immense importance, it is great that the authors have chosen to include a discussion of this in a book at this level. The treatment is very understandable and prepares the reader for more advanced reading on the subject. 9. The heat conduction equation. The diffusive solutions of the equation are discussed in terms of the time development of a temperature pulse, giving the reader a first glimpse of the "Green's function" methods.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poorly manufactured book! May 3, 2006
I remember when I took this couse as an undergraduate it was very challenging to develop an "intuitive feel" for the subject material and the book seemed to make matters worse. Several years later and after a little mathematical "seasoning", I have revisited Kittel's Thermal Physics and now realize how well the material is presented. However, I am forced to give the book 3 stars because I remember how EVERY textbook in the class(~15 students) fell apart before the semester ended. I remember paying nearly $80 for the book at the time- totally unacceptable for a book in this price range. I was actually hoping to find an inexpensive used copy to replace my original, but after reading the reviews, it appears that the binding problem has not been corrected yet. So, I guess I'll have to tolerate keeping the pages intact as I thumb through the book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I ownder this book back in college but i lost it
Great book,.., first one to introduce me to thermal physics/statistical mechanics. Although to get a good grasp of the subject i suggest reading other thermal phys books aswell,... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jacob Bogers
1.0 out of 5 stars A mess of differential equations, no physical intuition gained...
After using this book for a semester of my undergraduate "Thermal Physics" course, I can confidently say that this is the worst textbook I have used in my undergraduate... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mark
5.0 out of 5 stars meh
Better than not having a textbook, and I like the basing of the material in statistics, and fundamental units, rather than si, but it does a poor job at explaining some rather... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Max
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written
I used this book for my upper division thermodynamics/statistical mechanics class. All I can say is that Kittel did a wonderful job in introducing the subject. Read more
Published 10 months ago by SpongeHateWorld
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, haven't finished yet
I would write a more intense review, but as I have not finished it that seems unfair. But so far, the explanations are physical not just mathematical which is what physics should... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Tash Woods
1.0 out of 5 stars Have no doubt: This book is godawful.
In addition to the weaknesses of this book pointed out in other 1-star reviews (all of which are true, in my experience), I would like to add another complaint, which is this:... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Dave
4.0 out of 5 stars Gets better with re-reading
I used this book for a standard college-level first course on thermodynamics. I hated it at first, because many of the concepts that the authors introduce at first seem random and... Read more
Published 17 months ago by wil3
5.0 out of 5 stars Builds a strong foundation for advanced study
The key ideas in the book are very clear. As already pointed out, multiplicity of states is brought out as the central theme, and the concepts on entropy, temperature, free energy... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Ashok Ramu
3.0 out of 5 stars Both sides are right about this book
This IS one of the better books on the subject, but that's just because no one who understands the subject can explain it in a clear manner. That goes for Kittel as well. Read more
Published on September 25, 2010 by John Public
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent text book in Thermal Physics
This book is well written and all the derivations are exceptionally clear, simple and elegent. (See, for example, the derivation of Planck's radiation law, Fermi-Dirac and... Read more
Published on December 8, 2009 by jacke chen
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