Statistical Mechanics: Entropy, Order Parameters, and Complexity (Paperback)

Statistical Mechanics: Entropy, Order Parameters, and Complexity By James P. Sethna Cover Image
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Description


Statistical mechanics is our tool for deriving the laws that emerge from complex systems. Sethna's text distills the subject to be accessible to those in all realms of science and engineering -- avoiding extensive use of quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, and molecular physics. Statistical mechanics explains how bacteria search for food, and how DNA replication is proof-read in biology; optimizes data compression, and explains transitions in complexity in computer science; explains the onset of chaos, and launched random matrix theory in mathematics; addresses extreme events in engineering; and models pandemics and language usage in the social sciences. Sethna's exercises introduce physicists to these triumphs and a hundred others -- broadening the horizons of scholars both practicing and nascent. Flipped classrooms and remote learning can now rely on 33 pre-class exercises that test reading comprehension (Emergent vs. fundamental; Weirdness in high dimensions; Aging, entropy and DNA), and 70 in-class activities that illuminate and broaden knowledge (Card shuffling; Human correlations; Crackling noises). Science is awash in information, providing ready access to definitions, explanations, and pedagogy. Sethna's text focuses on the tools we use to create new laws, and on the fascinating simple behavior in complex systems that statistical mechanics explains.

About the Author


James P. Sethna, Professor of Physics, Cornell University James P. Sethna is professor of physics at Cornell University. Sethna has used statistical mechanics to make substantive contributions in a bewildering variety of subjects -- mathematics (dynamical systems and the onset of chaos), engineering (microstructure, plasticity, and fracture), statistics (information geometry, sloppy models, low-dimensional embeddings), materials science (glasses and spin glasses, liquid crystals, crackling noise, superconductivity), and popular culture (mosh pit dynamics and zombie outbreak epidemiology). He has collected cool, illustrative problems from students and colleagues over the decades, which inspired this textbook.


Product Details
ISBN: 9780198865254
ISBN-10: 0198865252
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication Date: March 26th, 2021
Pages: 496
Language: English