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Robert Gasser and W G Richards
An introduction to statistical thermodynamics
An introduction to statistical thermodynamics by Gasser and Richards is a small book, but the authors manage to pack a significant amount of useful material into it. The book contains the typical applications of thermodynamics to physics, such as calculation of heat capacities and the behaviour of materials at low temperatures but since the authors are professors of chemistry, the book also has several chapters on topics related to that subject, such as rates of reaction and spectroscopy. The final chapter looks at the thermodynamics of biopolymers, showing how the subject relates to the behaviour of DNA and proteins.
The book is written for readers at the level of science undergraduates. It takes a statistical point of view throughout, showing how the approach of finding the quantum energy levels of a system and then deriving its partition function has a wide range of applications. As is to be expected it has quite a bit of maths, especially at the start. Well actually the maths continues throughout the book, but the later parts have more discussion of the topics, and so are easier to read without following the mathematics There is also a chapter on the use of computer simulations in the study of thermodynamic systems, including monte carlo methods and molecular dynamics calculations.