2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue
MATH3424 Introduction to Entropy in the Physical World
15 creditsClass Size: 115
Module manager: Dr Mike Evans; Dr Steve Fitzgerald
Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable
Year running 2020/21
Pre-requisite qualifications[MATH1010 and MATH1012] or [MATH1050 and MATH1400 and (MATH1060 or MATH1331)].
Students should have some prior experience of using the concepts of energy, and conservation of energy, in modelling mechanical or physical systems. Such experience could, for example, have been gained in MATH1012, or in A-level mechanics modules. Knowledge of statistics is assumed, although a statistics primer document will be provided, including probability distributions and density functions, expectation values, variance and standard deviation.
This module is mutually exclusive with
|MATH5424M||Advanced Entropy in the Physical World|
This module is not approved as a discovery module
Module summaryThe material world is composed of countless microscopic particles. When three or more particles interact, their dynamics is chaotic, and impossible to predict in detail. So, why is it that the materials around us behave in predictable and regular ways? The answer lies in the fact that disordered behaviour on the microscopic scale gives rise to collective behaviour that can be predicted with practical certainty, guided by the principle that the total disorder (or entropy) of the universe never decreases. This module studies calculations involving entropy, as applied to the matter that makes up our world.
ObjectivesUpon completion of the module, students will:
- have gained an understanding of how the macroscopic properties of matter emerge from the microscopic processes within it;
- appreciate the need for a statistical approach to the dynamics of interacting systems involving large numbers of degrees of freedom;
- understand what entropy is and how it is related to disorder;
- be able to apply the methods of statistical mechanics in calculations for microscopic models of classical physical systems;
- understand how entropy determines the "arrow of time" via the direction of physical processes.
By the end of the module, students should be able to:
- define and evaluate entropies;
- know and use the statistical definition of temperature;
- calculate expectation values in microscopic models using Boltzmann's law;
- find the partition function for a number of idealized models.
Introduction to statistical solution of the many-body problem.
Qualitative introduction to phase transitions and ergodicity.
Classical definitions of entropy.
The arrow of time.
Microcanonical and canonical ensembles; Stirling's formula, Boltzmann's law and the partition function.
Calculation of expectation values.
Specific microscopic models of physical systems, to include:
- 2-state isolated system;
- Classical ideal gas;
- Lattice models.
Introduction to mean-field theory.
Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information
|Delivery type||Number||Length hours||Student hours|
|Private study hours||133.00|
|Total Contact hours||17.00|
|Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)||150.00|
Private studyStudying and revising of course material.
Completing of formative written exercises.
Opportunities for Formative FeedbackFeedback on formative written exercises.
Methods of assessment
|Exam type||Exam duration||% of formal assessment|
|Open Book exam||2 hr 30 mins||100.00|
|Total percentage (Assessment Exams)||100.00|
Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated
Reading listThe reading list is available from the Library website
Last updated: 14/09/2020 12:27:53
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