The American Journal of Physics seeks contributions for a special theme issue on Thermodynamics, Statistical Mechanics, and Statistical Physics to be edited by Jan Tobochnik and Harvey Gould. The purpose of this issue is to promote innovation in all aspects of the teaching of thermal and statistical physics in the undergraduate curriculum, including laboratory experiments, computational projects, student understanding of conceptual issues, ways of incorporating modern developments, issues related to energy in society, and ways of integrating statistical physics with classical thermodynamics. Manuscripts which include suggested projects or problems for students are encouraged.

Tentative Timetable

January 8, 1999 Deadline for contacting the editors about possible submission(s)
The editors will still consider new titles as long as the author(s) can promise that they can make the March deadline.
March 1, 1999 Submission of first draft
June 1, 1999 Completion of final draft

List of Potential Contributors


The guidelines for contributions will follow the usual American Journal of Physics submission guidelines with the following changes. Please note that references to papers should have the final as well as initial page numbers.

  1. The editors will work closely with each author to achieve a uniform style and notation and to make each contribution as clear as possible. We will probably ask you many questions about the physics so that we can mutually work to make your contribution as accessible as possible. Ideally, our editorial help will also make completing the manuscript easier for authors.

  2. The goal of the theme issue is to broaden the scope of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics courses to make them more interesting and accessible to undergraduates. The choice of topic should reflect your interests, although not necessarily your research interests. Of course some topics are more interesting than others, especially to undergraduate students.

  3. Please contact the editors as early as possible if you are considering submitting a manuscript. In this way we can minimize possible overlap in topics.

  4. A draft of your manuscript should be submitted to the editors in electronic form as well as in "hard copy." We prefer submissions written in TeX, LaTeX, or REVTeX, but you may write the first draft using any word processor as long as you send us both a printed copy and a copy of the corresponding ascii file, preferably by email. We will then convert your file to TeX.

  5. We can help you prepare the figures if you send us the data. We prefer figures in postscript so that we can edit them easily.

  6. If you would like to review a book on statistical and thermal physics for the theme issue, please contact the book review editor, David Griffiths at

  7. Ideally, a set of 3-5 problems should be included to help explain the relevant physical concepts. However, the inclusion of problems is not required.

  8. The final decision on all manuscripts remains with the editor of the American Journal Of Physics, Robert Romer.

Please send all correspondence to the theme issue editors: Jan Tobochnik, Department of Physics, Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, MI 49006, or Harvey Gould, Department of Physics, Clark University, Worcester, MA 01610,

Updated 15 February 1999.