The following listing of papers on statistical and thermal physics are of possible pedagogical interest. The list is not intended to be complete, but might be of some value. If you know of a paper that should be added to the list, please send e-mail to

Papers on Thermal and Statistical Physics


  1. Michael Abraham and Zeev Olami, "Thermodynamics of rotating quantum systems," Physica A 233, 503-514 (1996).
  2. A. E. Allahverdyan and Th. M. Njeuwenhuizen, "Optimizing the classical heat engine," cond-mat/0005383.
  3. B. Andresen, P. Salamon, and R. S. Berry, "Thermodynamics in finite time", Phys. Today, September 1984.
  4. A. S. Arrott, "The Zilch cycle: An application of the First Law of Thermodynamics," Amer. J. Phys. 45, 672-3 (1977).
  5. Ralph Baierlein, "The meaning of temperature," Physics Teacher 28, 94-96 (February, 1990).
  6. M. Bailyn, "Lambda versus first-order transitions," Amer. J. Phys. 56, 147 (1988).
  7. G. Barnes, "The two cycles of the rotary Curie-point heat engine," Amer. J. Phys. 57, 223 (1989).
  8. A. Ben-Naim, "Is mixing a thermodynamic process?," Amer. J. Phys. 55, 725 (1987).
  9. C. H. Bennett, "Demons, Engines and the Second Law," Sci. Amer. 257, 108 (1987) (Nov. 87).
  10. N. Bloemergen, "The concept of temperature in magnetism," Amer. J. Phys. 41, 325 (1973).
  11. Barry M. Casper and Susan Frerer, "Gibbs paradox" paradox," Amer. J. Phys. 41, 509 (1973).
  12. D. R. Chenoweth and S. Paolucci, "On pressure change occurring during gas mixing," Amer. J. Phys. 57, 463 (1989).
  13. A. Compagner, "Thermodynamics as the continuum limit of statistical mechanics," Amer. J. Phys. 57, 106 (1989).
  14. William H. Cropper, "Carnot's function: origins of the thermodynamic concept of temperature," Amer. J. Phys. 55, 120 (1987).
  15. F. L. Curzon and B. Ahlborn, "Efficiency of a Carnot engine at maximum power output," Amer. J. Phys. 43, 22 (1975).
  16. C. S. Dawm, M. B. Kennel, C. E. A. Finney, and F. T. Connolly, "Observing and modeling nonlinear dynamics in an internal combustion machine," Phys. Rev. E 57, 2811 (1998).
  17. E. W. Dearden, "Expansion formulae for first-order partial derivatives of thermal variables," Eur. J. Phys. 16, 76 (1995).
  18. David H. Frisch, "The microscopic definition of entropy," Amer. J. Phys. 34, 1171 (1966).
  19. J. M. Gordon, "Generalized power versus efficiency characteristics of heat engines: The thermoelectric generator as an instructive illustration," Amer. J. Phys. 59, 551 (1991).
  20. H. W. Graben and John R. Ray, "Fourth adiabatic ensemble," J. Chem. Phys. 93, 4296 (1990).
  21. H. W. Graben and John R. Ray, "Unified treatment of adiabatic ensembles," Phys. Rev. A 43, 4100 (1991).
  22. L. A. Guildner, "The measurement of thermodynamic temperature," Phys. Today, December 1982.
  23. A. Calvo Hernandez et al. "On an irreversible air standard Otto-cycle model," Eur. J. Phys. 16, 73 (1995).
  24. A. Calvo Hernandez, J. M. M. Roco, A. Medina, and S. Velasco, "An irreversible and optimized four stroke cycle model for automotive engines," Eur. J. Phys. 17, 11 (1996).
  25. R. K. Hobbie, "Osmotic Pressure in the Physics Course for Students of the Life Sciences," Amer. J. Phys. 42, 188 (1974).
  26. P. Kariotogloy et al., "Understanding pressure: didactical transpositions and pupils' conceptions," Phys. Educ. 25, 92 (1990).
  27. G. S. Kell, "Heat Engines That Use a Gravitational Field," Amer. J. Phys. 42, 209 (1974).
  28. Martin J. Klein, "Maxwell, his demon, and the second law of thermodynamics," Amer. Sci. 58, 84 (1970).
  29. P. T. Landsberg, "Teaching Thermodynamics," 451 (1985).
  30. Harvey S. Leff, "Available work from a finite source and sink: how effective is a Maxwell demon?," Amer. J. Phys. 55, 701 (1987).
  31. Harvey S. Leff, "Thermal efficiency at maximum work output: new results for old heat engines," Amer. J. Phys. 55, 602 (1987).
  32. Elliot H. Lieb and Jakob Yngvason, "A Fresh Look at Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics," math-ph/0003028.
  33. Elliott H. Lieb and Jakob Yngvason, "A guide to entropy and the second law of thermodynamics," math-ph/9805005.
  34. V. J. Menon and D. C. Agrawal, "First law of thermodynamics from Hamiltonian viewpoint," Eur. J. Phys. 16, 83 (1995).
  35. E. N. Miranda, "When an irreversible cooling (or heating) becomes reversible," European Journal of Physics 21, 239 (2000).
  36. Gerald L. Pollack, "Why gases dissolve in liquids," Science 251, 1323 (1991).
  37. Ye Rengui, "The logical connection between special relativity and thermodynamics," Eur. J. Phys. 17, 265 (1996).
  38. Morton H. Rubin, "Figures of merit for energy conversion processes," Amer. J. Phys. 46, 637 (1978).
  39. S. Rubio et al, "Misconceptions about heat and temperature."
  40. Hans Henrik Rugh, "A geometric, dynamic approach to thermodynamics," chao-dyn/9703013.
  41. J. R. Sanmartin, "A derivation of thermodynamic principles," Eur. J. Phys. 17, 76 (1996).
  42. Bruce Sherwood, "Pseudowork and real work," Amer. J. Phys. 51, 597 (1983).
  43. Bruce Sherwood and W. H. Bernard, "Work and heat transfer in the presence of sliding friction," Amer. J. Phys. 52, 1001 (1984).
  44. R. A. Simon, "Stirling's cycle and the Second law of thermodynamics," Amer. J. Phys. 52, 496 (1984).
  45. Jos Uffink, "Bluff your way in the Second Law of Thermodynamics," cond-mat/0005327.
  46. Y. Zimmels, "Thermodynamics in the presence of electromagnetic fields," Phys. Rev. E 52, 1452 (1995).
  47. Th. M. Nieuwenhuizen, "Thermodynamics of black holes: An analogy with glasses," Phys. Rev. Lett. 81, 2201 (1998).


  1. E. Fischbein and A. Gazit, "Does the teaching of probability improve probabilistic intuitions?," Educ. Stud. Math 15, 1 (1984).
  2. I. J. Good, "Kinds of Probability. Although there are at least five kinds of probability, we can get along with just one kind," Science 129, 443 (1959).
  3. Anne S. Hawkins and Ramesh Kapadia, "Children's conceptions of probability - a psychological and pedagogical review," Educ. Stud. Math 15, 349 (1984).
  4. Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini, "Probability: neither rational nor capricious," Bostonia, Mar/Apr 1991.
  5. Glenn Shafer, "What is probability? and "The early development of mathematical probability."

General Statistical Mechanics

  1. J. Arnaud, J. M. Boe, L. Chusseau, and F. Philippe, "Illustration of the Fermi-Dirac statistics," Amer. J. Phys. 67, 215-221 (1999).
  2. C. H. Bennett and R. Landauer, "The Fundamental Physical Limits of Computation," Sci. Amer., July 1985.
  3. Alastair Bruce and David Wallace, "Critical point phenomena: universal physics at large length scales," The New Physics, pg. 236, Paul Davies, editor, Cambridge University Press (1989).
  4. Stephen G. Brush, "Gadflies and geniuses in the history of gas theory."
  5. V. Cerny, "Methods of statistical physics and complex mathematical problems," Eur. J. Phys. 9, 94 (1988).
  6. J. Fort, J. A. Gonzalez, J. E. Llebot, and J. Saurina, "Information theory and blackbody radiation," Contem. Phys. 40, 57-70 (1999).
  7. Steven Frautschi, "Entropy in an expanding universe," Science 217, 593 (1982).
  8. R. B. Grifiths, "Phase transitions and critical phenomena."
  9. Sadri Hassani, "Thermodynamics using coins," European Journal of Physics 21, 41 (2000).
  10. R. L. Ingraham, "When can we treat identical particles as distinguishable? An unfamiliar classical limit," Amer. J. Phys. 53, 119 (1985).
  11. E. T. Jaynes, "Gibbs vs Boltzmann entropies," Amer. J. Phys. 33, 391 (1965).
  12. A. Mulero, F. Cuadros, and W. Ahumada, "Teaching statistical mechanics of fluids: Microscopic and macroscopic behavior."
  13. Joel L. Lebowitz, "Time's arrow and Boltzmann's entropy," 5/12/92; "Time's arrow and Boltzmann's entropy," Joel L. Lebowitz, 2/9/93.
  14. Joel L. Lebowitz, "References on statistical physics."
  15. Joel L. Lebowitz, "Microscopic Origins of Irreversible Macroscopic Behavior: An Overview."
  16. Joel L. Lebowitz, "Statistical mechanics: A selective review of two central issues," Revs. Mod. Phys. 71, s346 (1999).
  17. Joel L. Lebowitz, "Cooperative behavior in Simple and Complex Systems" (1999).
  18. George D. J. Phillies, "A novel representation of the dense fluid pressure equation," J. Chem. Phys. 86, 4711 (1987).
  19. George D. J. Phillies, "The polythermal ensemble: a rigorous interpretation of temperature fluctuations in statistical mechanics," Amer. J. Phys. 52, 629 (1984).
  20. George D. J. Phillies, "A second generalized equipartition theorem, J. Chem. Phys. 78, 1620 (1983).
  21. Abner Shimony, "The status of the principle of Maximum Entropy," Synthese 63, 35 (1985).
  22. Arthur V. Tobolsky, "The microcanonical ensemble," Amer. J. Phys. 32, 799 (1994).
  23. "Simple arguments for the Boltzmann factor," Amer. J. Phys. 63, 877 (1995).

Simple Statistical Mechanics Models

  1. M. H. Anderson et al., "Observation of Bose-Einstein condensation in a dilute atomic vapor," Science 269, 198 (1995).
  2. Vishnu M. Bannur, Predhiman K. Kaw, and Jitendra C. Parikh, "Statistical mechanics of quartic oscillators," Phys. Rev. E 55, 2525 (1997).
  3. P. Bialas, L. Bogacz, Z. Burda, and D. Johnston, "Finite size scaling of the balls in boxes model," hep-lat/9910047, Nucl. Phys. B575, 599-612 (2000).
  4. P. Bialas, Z. Burda, and D. Johnston, "Phase diagram of the mean field model of simplicial gravity," gr-qc/9808011, Nucl. Phys. B542, 413-424 (1999).
  5. P. Bialas, Z. Burda, and D. Johnston,"Condensation in the Backgammon model," cond-mat/9609264.
  6. M. A. Cirone, K. Goral, K. Rzazewski, M. Wilkens,"Bose-Einstein condensation of two interacting particles," cond-mat/0006359.
  7. Vanderlei Bagnato and Daniel Kleppner, "Bose-Einstein condensation in low-dimensional traps," Phys. Rev. A 44, 7439 (1991).
  8. Michael E. Fisher, "Magnetism in one-dimensional systems - the Heisenberg model for infinite spin, Amer. J. Phys. 32, 343 (1964).
  9. N. H. Fletcher, "Van der Waals' equation and nucleation theory," Eur. J. Phys. 14, 29 (1993).
  10. Ben C. Freasier, Cliff E. Woodward, and Richard J. Bearman, "Heat capacity extrema on isotherms in one-dimension: Two particles interacting with the truncated Lennard-Jones potential in the canonical ensemble," J. Chem. Phys. 105, 3686 (1996).
  11. G. Gutierrez and J. Yanez, "Can an Ideal Gas Feel the Shape of its Container?", Am. J. Phys. 65 (8) 739--744 (1997).
  12. G. G. Hall and S. B. Jones, "Information and entropy for a planar box," Amer. J. Phys. 41, 213 (1973).
  13. Douglas Henderson, "Statistical mechanics of a quantum system of hard lines," Amer. J. Phys. xx, 795 (1964).
  14. Kunihiko Kaneko, "Globally coupled chaos violates the law of large numbers but not the central limit theorem," Phys. Rev. Lett. 65, 1391 (1990).
  15. M. Howard Lee, "Equivalence of ideal gases in two dimensions and Landen's relations," Phys. Rev. E 55, 1518-1520 (1997).
  16. Humphrey J. Maris and Leo P. Kadanoff, "Teaching the renormalization group," Amer. J. Phys. 46, 652 (1978).
  17. Robert M. May, "Quantum statistics of ideal gases in two dimensions," Phys. Rev. 133, A1515 (1964).
  18. J. P. McKelvey and Ef. F. Pulver, "Fermi statistics of two-dimensional free electron systems," Amer. J. Phys. 32, 749 (1964); erratum, Amer. J. Phys. 33, 172 (1965).
  19. R. K. Pathria, "An ideal quantum gas in a finite-sized container," Amer. J. Phys. 66, 1080 (1998).
  20. R. K. Pathria, "Similarities and diferences between Bose and Fermi gases," Phys. Rev. E 57, 2697 (1998).
  21. F. L. Roman, J. A. White, and S. Velasco, "Microcanonical single-particle distributions for an ideal gas in a gravitational field," Eur. J. Phys. 16, 80 (1995).
  22. Yuhua Song and E. A. Mason, "Statistical mechanical theory of a new analytical equation of state," J. Chem. Phys. 91, 7840 (1990).
  23. Yuhua Song and E. A. Mason, "Equation of state for fluids of spherical particles in d dimensions," J. Chem. Phys. 93, 686 (1990).
  24. Yuhua Song and E. A. Mason, "Analytical equation of state for molecular fluids: Kihara model for rodlike molecules," Phys. Rev. A 42, 4743 (1990).
  25. Yuhua Song and E. A. Mason, "Equation of state for a fluid of hard convex bodies in any number of dimensions," Phys. Rev. A 41, 3121(1990).
  26. Yuhua Song, E. A. Mason, and Richard M. Stratt, "Why does the Carnahan-Starling equation work so well?," J. Phys. Chem. 93, 6916 (1989).
  27. Robert Weinstock, "Heat capacity of an ideal free electron gas: a rigorous derivation," Amer. J. Phys. 37, 1273 (1969).
  28. V. C. Aguilera-Navarro and G. A. Estevez, "Analytic approximation for the chemical potential of an ideal boson system," Am. J. Phys. 56, 456 (1988).

Random walks and probability

  1. D. Chowdhury and A. Mookerjee, "Random walk and magnetization of spin clusters in spin glasses," Amer. J. Phys. 53, 261 (1985).
  2. Peter Griffin, "Accelerating beyond the third dimension: Returning to the origin in simple random walk," Math. Scientist 15, 224-35 (1990).
  3. Richard Perline, "Zipf's law, the central limit theorem, and the random division of the unit interval," Phys. Rev. E 54, 220 (1996).
  4. E. P. Raposo, S. M. de Oliveira, A. M. Nemirovsky, and M. D. Coutinho-Filho, "Randon walks: A pedestrian approach to polymers, critical phenomena, and field theory," Amer. J. Phys. 59, 633 (1991).
  5. Joseph Rudnick and George Gaspari, "The shapes of random walks," Science 237, 384 (1987).
  6. Charles R. Tolle, Joanne L. Budzien and Randall A. LaViolette, "Do dynamical systems follow Benford's Law?"
  7. Bruce J. West and Michael Shlesinger, "The Noise in Natural Phenomena," Amer. Sci., 78, 40 (1990).


  1. A. Santos, An equation of state a la Carnahan-Starling for a five-dimensional fluid of hard hyperspheres," cond-mat/0003011.
  2. J. Sivardiere, "A mechanical model exhibiting a tricritical point," Amer. J. Phys. 54, 172 (1986).
  3. Yuhua Song and E. A. Mason, "Analytical equation of state for molecular fluids: comparison with experimental data," Phys. Rev. A 42, 4749 (1990).
  4. Yuhua Song, E. A. Mason, and Richard M. Stratt, "Why does the Carnahan-Starling equation work so well?," J. Phys. Chem. 93, 6916 (1989).
  5. J. Stephenson, "Hard and soft core equations of state for simple fluids."
  6. S. Velasco, F. L. Roman, and J. A. White, "On a paradox concerning the temperature distribution of an ideal gas in a gravitational field," Eur. J. Phys. 17, 43-44 (1996).
  7. Duane C. Wallace, "Statistical entropy and a qualitative gas-liquid phase diagram," Phys. Rev. A 38, 469 (1988).
  8. J. H. Weiner, "Entropic versus kinetic viewpoints in rubber elasticity," Amer. J. Phys. 55, 746 (1987).
  9. J. Wheatley and A. Cox, "Natural engines," Phys. Today, August 1985.
  10. James D. White, "The role of surface melting in ice skating," Phys. Teacher 30, 495 (1992).
  11. P. Roura, J. Fort, and J. Saurina, "How long does it take to boil an egg? A simple approach to the energy transfer equation," European Journal of Physics 21, 95 (2000).
  12. Yaakov Kraftmakher, "Photovoltaic cell: efficiency of energy conversion," European Journal of Physics 21, 159 (2000).
  13. L. Bellomonte and R. M. Sperandeo-Mineo, "Analysis of the transition from the Einstein crystal model to the Debye model, European Journal of Physics 21, 203 (2000).
  14. P Janik, M. Paluch, L. Tomawski, and J. Ziolo,"RC-model of stretched relaxation," European Journal of Physics 21, 233 (2000).
  15. Maciej Lewenstein, Andrezej Nowak, and Bibb Latane, "Statistical mechanics of social impact," Phys. Rev. E 45, 763 (1992).
  16. Hisashi Ozawa, "Thermodynamics of frost heaving: A thermodynamic proposition for dynamic phenomena," Phys. Rev. E 56, 2811 (1997).
  17. R. U. Ayres and I. Nair, "Thermodynamics and economics," Phys. Today, November 1984.
  18. W. Greiner and H. Stocker, "Hot Nuclear Matter," Sci. Amer. 252, 76 (Jan 1985).
  19. Mambi Hu, Baowen Li, and Hong Zhao, "Heat conduction in one-dimensional chains," Phys. Rev. E 57, 1992 (1998).
  20. Albert Chang and Russell D. Larsen, "Approach to equilibrium: the wasp and the beetle model," J. Chem. Educ 68, 297 (1991).
  21. Kerry A. Emanuel, "Toward a General theory of Hurricanes," Amer. Scientist 76, 371 (1988).
  22. Marianne Wiser and Susan Carey, "When Heat and Temperature Were One," 267 (1983).
  23. Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution.
  24. "Johnson noise" and "Shot noise," MIT lab handout.
  25. "The Ehrenfests' wind-tree model and the hypothesis of molecular chaos," Eur. J. Phys. 12, 27 (1991).
  26. Gregory H. Wannier. Excerpt on the Kac model from Statistical Physics.
  27. A. Georgallas. "The free expansion of an ideal gas into a box"

List updated 21 February 2000 by Matthew Moelter, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

List updated 9 June 2004 by Gonzalo Gutierrez, Universidad de Santiago.

Updated 10 June 2004.