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Stanley Greenspoon
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Ralph Baierlein

Thermal physics

Thermodynamics is a huge subject, which means that thermodynamics textbooks are often correspondingly huge. In Thermal Physics Ralph Baierlein manages to pack a significant part of the subject into just 400 pages, and what is more does so in a reasonably reader-friendly way, with plenty of illustrations and examples of how thermodynamics links in with everyday life. On the other hand the book does have the usual amount of mathematics for this subject, and it does throw a lot of new ideas at the reader in a short space. Hence I would say that if you are going to use this book as part of your studies then you will need to be prepared to do some work.

The book is aimed at physics and astronomy undergraduates (several of the examples have an astronomical basis), with less emphasis on chemical thermodynamics. Baierlein has lots of experience in teaching thermodynamics at this level, and this is reflected in the clear style in which the book is presented.The book takes a statistical point of view from the start, and quickly introduces the reader to quantum mechanical aspects of thermodynamics, including black-body radiation. The book also looks at low temperature physics, including that of Bose-Einstein condensates, and finishes with a chapter on critical phenomena.  |  Chronon Critical Points  |  Recent Science Book Reviews