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The Boltzmann Factor

E. Brian Smith University of Oxford and Cardiff University

This vibrant book takes the reader on an exciting journey through much of physical sciences by explaining the wide ranging influence of a single equation, the Boltzmann factor.

Print Book, ISBN 978-1-938787-88-1, US $32
eBook, eISBN 978-1-938787-89-8, US $24
Copyright 2017
clothbound with jacket, illustrated throughout, 200 pages.
List Price US $30.00

Summary

This vibrant book takes the reader on an exciting journey through much of physical sciences by explaining the wide ranging influence of a single equation, the Boltzmann factor. This simple relation provides the key to understanding a remarkable variety of phenomena ranging from, for example, the behavior of atmospheric pressure at altitude, the appearance of molecular spectra and the factors that determine chemical equilibrium. Compact and clearly written book, this book, which requires no advanced mathematical skills, will enrich and deepen students’ understanding of the molecular sciences. The insight it provides will enable them to appreciate the elegant unity that underlies the subject.

Table of Contents

CONTENTS

Prologue

1. Introduction

2. Thermodynamic properties: Energy, entropy and equilibrium

3. Two-level system

4. Partial functions

5. Equally-spaced energy levels and simple solids

6. Perfect monatomic gases

7. Diatomic and polyatomic gases

8. Intermolecular energy

9. Equilibrium

10. Rates of reaction

11. Quantum statistics

Epilogue

Further reading

Appendices

Index

Reviews

“This gem of a book provides the student with a clear, concise, and compelling introduction to the deceptively simple but vitally important topic of thermodynamics. It involves the relationships between heat, work, temperature, energy, and states of matter, and touches virtually every field of science.”
-Richard N. Zare, Stanford University

“This book introduces students to the Boltzmann factor in an exceptionally clear and concise way. This is a key topic for students studying any branch of modern science. Most importantly, this text adds significantly to our understanding of both the simplicity and the importance of the Boltzmann factor.”
-Graham Hutchings, FRS, Cardiff University

E. Brian Smith University of Oxford and Cardiff University

Sir Brian Smith received his first degree and his doctorate at Liverpool University.  After two years at UC Berkeley, he was appointed Lecturer in Physical Chemistry and Fellow of St Catherine's College, Oxford.  Later, he was elected Master of the College.  He subsequently became Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University.  His research interests include intermolecular forces and the biological effects of simple gases. 

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