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EN.540.630. Thermodynamics, Statistical Mechanics, and Kinetics. 3.0 Credits.

In this course we will aim for understanding the thermodynamics of chemical and bio-molecular systems. We will first review classical, macroscopic thermodynamics covering concepts such as equilibrium, stability and the role of thermodynamic potentials. Our goal will be to gain a feel for the generality of thermodynamics. Statistical mechanics provides a link between the mechanics of atoms and macroscopic thermodynamics. We will introduce this branch in two distinct ways: 1) following standard methods of developing concepts such as ensembles and partition functions, and 2) where we will treat the basis of statistical mechanics as a problem in inference. With this foundation, we will consider concepts relevant to understanding the liquid state. Chemical transformations in a liquid are of importance in much of chemistry and biology; quasi-chemical generalizations of the potential distribution theorem will be introduced to present these ideas. We hope to give an overview of modern developments relating equilibrium work to non-equilibrium work, as these are of increasing importance in studies on single molecule systems. Registration by instructor permission only.
Instructor(s): C. Wang
Area: Engineering.