Search Search

Phys 2C Spring 2018

Physics 2C - Introduction to Statistical Physics and Thermodynamics, April-June 2018


Brad Filippone
102 Kellogg, Ext. 4517
e-mail:  bradf AT

Math 1abc or equivalent (differential equations, complex numbers, ...)
Physics 1abc, or equivalent (mechanics, special relativity, electromagnetism)

Physics 2b

Time: Tuesday/Thursday 11-12
Location:  201 East Bridge

Textbook for Phys 2C:
Thermal Physics by Kittel and Kroemer - 2nd edition

Class notes:
PDF files under "Class Notes"

Problem Sets:

Homework will be due at 4 pm on Thursdays, in the homework box outside 201 E Bridge and returned to a group location (the return cubbies in Bridge Annex)  if you've filled out the FERPA; otherwise they can be picked up from Mika in 110 E Bridge. Assignments are listed on the link above. Solution sets will be posted on the web. You are strongly encouraged to check your work when it is returned to you. Problem sets are essential for mastering the material in this class!

There will be quizzes, spread out over the term, and a final exam at the end. All will be take-home and ``limited" open-book (only the text and class notes allowed). The final exam will be comprehensive.

Grading: 45% problem sets, 20% quizzes, 35% final exam.

Recitations:  See link at top of page

Graders:  See link at top of page


  • OFFICIAL policy: Work (the entire problem set) will be accepted up to one week late at 1/2 credit, no credit thereafter. Please put a note at the top of your problem set if it is late.
  • One extension (for up to one week) is allowed without question (your silver bullet). Please put a note at the top of your problem set that you are using your silver bullet.
  • Additional extension requests (due to illness or other extreme hardship) require a note from the dean to the Head TA.
  • Please scan and e-mail late assigments to the appropriate grader (cc the head TA).  The grader will grade it and send the studnet a brief e-mail mentioning their score and where and why points were taken off.

Honor Code and Collaboration policy:

  • Work is governed by the honor system.
  • You may not use sources that contain the answer to a problem or to a very similar problem.
  • In particular, do not use solution sets from previous years, problem/solution books, or internet searches at any time. Exams and their solutions from past years are not to be used in any fashion.
  • Discussion with others is encouraged, but then you should go off alone and write it up; the work you hand in must be your own.
  • Mathematica may be used in problem sets, or in exams for getting past some mathematical chore (not for gaining knowledge of the physics). It should never be necessary; it is much better to master the mathematical analysis yourself without help from Mathematica. If you chose to use Mathematica anyway, make sure you simplify the result as much as possible, so that it is easy to see what the math is telling you.
  • Please attend class, and section meetings!
  • Please ask questions of the TA's and the prof.
  • Please clearly write your name, date, assignment number on all of your assignments and exams.
  • Clearly mark the problem numbers and answers.
  • Please write as neatly as possible. A human being is trying to read your work well enough to give credit!

I greatly appreciate student feedback; feedback prior to the end-of-term evaluations lets me modify the class to fit your needs. I also welcome any comments in person, by email to bradf AT, by campus mail, whatever you like. Or, talk to your:

Ombudsfolk are student volunteers who represent the students of each of the undergrad houses. They collect suggestions, comments, complaints, etc, and present them to the head ombudsperson at periodic meetings (free lunch!). Talk to your ombudsperson!

  • Chris Long (cmlong AT Avery
  • Michael Rupprecht (mrupprec AT Page
  • Sarah Kreider (skreider Lloyd

Handouts: (Access to exams, quizzes, notes, and all solutions are restricted to Caltech: e.g. use VPN)