Molecular Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics

Wei Kong
Gilbert Hall 004

Office Hours:
MWF 1:30-2:30pm
Lecture: 10-11am MWF GbAd 103

Course Information:
The laws of chemical thermodynamics and the postulates of statistical mechanics will be applied to analyze properties of gases, gas mixtures, liquid solutions, fluctuations, critical phenomena and polymers. The approach is part thermodynamics, part statistical mechanics, linked by mathematics. Dill and Bromberg construct a non-standard but interesting view of how statistical thermodynamics affects chemistry and biology.

Textbook: Ken A. Dill and Sabrina Bromberg, Molecular Driving Forces, 2nd Edition, Garland Science, NY (2010)

PrerequisitesCourse StructureTerms Offered
1 Year of Physical Chemistry3 Credit-Hour CourseNot offered every year


Course Syllabus
1Extremum Principles and Math MethodsCh 2-4
problem set 1
2Entropy, fundamental equationCh 5-7
problem set 2
3Free energy, Maxwell relationsCh 8-9
problem set 3
4Stat mechanicsCh 10-11
problem set 4
5Heat capacities and chemical equilibriumCh 12-13
6Review and Exam 
7Solutions and solvationCh 14-16
problem set 5
8Kinetics and dynamicsCh 17-18
problem set 6
9Phase transitions and cooperativityCh 25-26
problem set 7
10Adsorption and Binding of PolymersCH 27-28 or Ch 32-22

Assignments are due Wednesday of the following week.  Each day of delay costs 25% of the total points for the assignment. 

  • 6 out of the 7 highest scores from assignments will be included in the total score.
  • > 80% - A; > 70% - B; > 60% - C

Exams and Grading Policy
Midterm exam: Monday of 6th week (11/4)
Final exam: Tuesday, Dec. 10th at 9:30am
Midterm (50pts) Final Exam (70pts) Assignments (30pts)