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Let us briefly review the material which we have covered so far in this course. We started off by studying the mathematics of probability. We then used probabilistic reasoning to analyze the dynamics of many particle systems, a subject area known as statistical mechanics. Next, we explored the physics of heat and work, the study of which is termed thermodynamics. The final step in our investigation is to combine statistical mechanics with thermodynamics: in other words, to investigate heat and work via statistical arguments. This discipline is called statistical thermodynamics, and forms the central subject matter of this course. This section is devoted to the study of the fundamental concepts of statistical thermodynamics. The remaining sections will then explore the application and elucidation of these concepts.

Richard Fitzpatrick 2006-02-02