This is an introduction to statistical mechanics, intended to be used either in an undergraduate physical chemistry course or by beginning graduate students with little undergraduate background in the subject. It assumes familiarity with thermodynamics, chemical kinetics, the kinetic theory of gases, quantum mechanics and spectroscopy, at the level at which these subjects are normally treated in undergraduate physical chemistry. Highly illustrated with numerous exercises and worked solutions, it provides a concise, up-to-date treatise of statistical mechanics and is ideally suited to use in one semester courses.
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Benjamin Widom is Goldwin Smith Professor of Chemistry at Cornell University, New York. He received his PhD in Physical Chemistry from that University (where he studied with S. H. Bauer) in 1953, and was a postdoctoral associate with O. K. Rice at the University of North Carolina, before joining the Cornell chemistry faculty in 1954. Professor Widom's research speciality is statistical mechanics and thermodynamics, particularly as applied to problems of phase equilibria, critical phenomena, and interfacial structure and thermodynamics. He is co-author with Professor Sir John Rowlinson, of the University of Oxford, of the research monograph Molecular Theory of Capilliarity (1982). Professor Widom has held numerous prestigious visitorships, including ones at Amsterdam (van der Waals Professor), Oxford (IBM Visiting Professor of Theoretical Chemistry), Leiden (Lorentz Professor), and Utrecht (Kramers/Debye Professor). He has had many awards in recognition of his research in statistical mechanics, including the Boltzmann Medal of the IUPAP Commission on Statistical Physics and the Onsager Medal of the University of Trondheim. He has honorary degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of Utrecht, and has been elected to membership or fellowship of several scholarly academies including the US National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.Review:
"This elegant new book by Benjamin Widom provides an attractive alternative for those faculty and students who want to go further...Widom has written a volume...that shows students the beauty and power of the theory as well as some of its most important contemporary applications. The sections on molecular dynamics and Monte Carlo methods are amonng the best concise introductions to those techniques that I have read. The prose is clear and erudite reflecting the scientific and personal style of the author...This book should be in the hands of everyone who teaches undergraduate physical chemistry to provide a model for what can be tuaght in that course beyond the material contained in the standard textbooks. Graduate students and faculty who need to learn statistical mechanics can hardly find a better introduction. Even those who regularly teach a graduate course in this area will get some new ideas and inpsiration from one of the leading practitioners of the field." Jefferey Kovac
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