• assignment Centrifuge

      assignment Homework

      Centrifugal potential Thermal and Statistical Physics 2020 A circular cylinder of radius \(R\) rotates about the long axis with angular velocity \(\omega\). The cylinder contains an ideal gas of atoms of mass \(M\) at temperature \(T\). Find an expression for the dependence of the concentration \(n(r)\) on the radial distance \(r\) from the axis, in terms of \(n(0)\) on the axis. Take \(\mu\) as for an ideal gas.
    • assignment Active transport

      assignment Homework

      Active transport
      Active transport Concentration Chemical potential Thermal and Statistical Physics 2020

      The concentration of potassium \(\text{K}^+\) ions in the internal sap of a plant cell (for example, a fresh water alga) may exceed by a factor of \(10^4\) the concentration of \(\text{K}^+\) ions in the pond water in which the cell is growing. The chemical potential of the \(\text{K}^+\) ions is higher in the sap because their concentration \(n\) is higher there. Estimate the difference in chemical potential at \(300\text{K}\) and show that it is equivalent to a voltage of \(0.24\text{V}\) across the cell wall. Take \(\mu\) as for an ideal gas. Because the values of the chemical potential are different, the ions in the cell and in the pond are not in diffusive equilibrium. The plant cell membrane is highly impermeable to the passive leakage of ions through it. Important questions in cell physics include these: How is the high concentration of ions built up within the cell? How is metabolic energy applied to energize the active ion transport?

      David adds
      You might wonder why it is even remotely plausible to consider the ions in solution as an ideal gas. The key idea here is that the ideal gas entropy incorporates the entropy due to position dependence, and thus due to concentration. Since concentration is what differs between the cell and the pond, the ideal gas entropy describes this pretty effectively. In contrast to the concentration dependence, the temperature-dependence of the ideal gas chemical potential will not be so great.

    • assignment Paramagnetism

      assignment Homework

      Energy Temperature Paramagnetism Thermal and Statistical Physics 2020 Find the equilibrium value at temperature \(T\) of the fractional magnetization \begin{equation} \frac{\mu_{tot}}{Nm} \equiv \frac{2\langle s\rangle}{N} \end{equation} of a system of \(N\) spins each of magnetic moment \(m\) in a magnetic field \(B\). The spin excess is \(2s\). The energy of this system is given by \begin{align} U &= -\mu_{tot}B \end{align} where \(\mu_{tot}\) is the total magnetization. Take the entropy as the logarithm of the multiplicity \(g(N,s)\) as given in (1.35 in the text): \begin{equation} S(s) \approx k_B\log g(N,0) - k_B\frac{2s^2}{N} \end{equation} for \(|s|\ll N\), where \(s\) is the spin excess, which is related to the magnetization by \(\mu_{tot} = 2sm\). Hint: Show that in this approximation \begin{equation} S(U) = S_0 - k_B\frac{U^2}{2m^2B^2N}, \end{equation} with \(S_0=k_B\log g(N,0)\). Further, show that \(\frac1{kT} = -\frac{U}{m^2B^2N}\), where \(U\) denotes \(\langle U\rangle\), the thermal average energy.
    • assignment Potential energy of gas in gravitational field

      assignment Homework

      Potential energy of gas in gravitational field
      Potential energy Heat capacity Thermal and Statistical Physics 2020 Consider a column of atoms each of mass \(M\) at temperature \(T\) in a uniform gravitational field \(g\). Find the thermal average potential energy per atom. The thermal average kinetic energy is independent of height. Find the total heat capacity per atom. The total heat capacity is the sum of contributions from the kinetic energy and from the potential energy. Take the zero of the gravitational energy at the bottom \(h=0\) of the column. Integrate from \(h=0\) to \(h=\infty\). You may assume the gas is ideal.
    • face Chemical potential and Gibbs distribution

      face Lecture

      120 min.

      Chemical potential and Gibbs distribution
      Thermal and Statistical Physics 2020

      chemical potential Gibbs distribution grand canonical ensemble statistical mechanics

      These notes from the fifth week of Thermal and Statistical Physics cover the grand canonical ensemble. They include several small group activities.
    • face Entropy and Temperature

      face Lecture

      120 min.

      Entropy and Temperature
      Thermal and Statistical Physics 2020

      paramagnet entropy temperature statistical mechanics

      These lecture notes for the second week of Thermal and Statistical Physics involve relating entropy and temperature in the microcanonical ensemble, using a paramagnet as an example. These notes include a few small group activities.
    • face Phase transformations

      face Lecture

      120 min.

      Phase transformations
      Thermal and Statistical Physics 2020

      phase transformation Clausius-Clapeyron mean field theory thermodynamics

      These lecture notes from the ninth week of Thermal and Statistical Physics cover phase transformations, the Clausius-Clapeyron relation, mean field theory and more. They include a number of small group activities.
    • assignment Center of Mass for Two Uncoupled Particles

      assignment Homework

      Center of Mass for Two Uncoupled Particles
      Central Forces 2023 (3 years)

      Consider two particles of equal mass \(m\). The forces on the particles are \(\vec F_1=0\) and \(\vec F_2=F_0\hat{x}\). If the particles are initially at rest at the origin, find the position, velocity, and acceleration of the center of mass as functions of time. Solve this problem in two ways, with or without theorems about the center of mass motion. Write a short description comparing the two solutions.

    • keyboard Kinetic energy

      keyboard Computational Activity

      120 min.

      Kinetic energy
      Computational Physics Lab II 2022

      finite difference hamiltonian quantum mechanics particle in a box eigenfunctions

      Students implement a finite-difference approximation for the kinetic energy operator as a matrix, and then use numpy to solve for eigenvalues and eigenstates, which they visualize.
    • computer Visualizing Combinations of Spherical Harmonics

      computer Mathematica Activity

      30 min.

      Visualizing Combinations of Spherical Harmonics
      Central Forces 2023 (3 years) Students observe three different plots of linear combinations of spherical combinations with probability density represented by color on the sphere, distance from the origin (polar plot), and distance from the surface of the sphere.
  • Static Fields 2022 (5 years)

    Shown below is a contour plot of a scalar field, \(\mu(x,y)\). Assume that \(x\) and \(y\) are measured in meters and that \(\mu\) is measured in kilograms. Four points are indicated on the plot.

    1. Determine \(\frac{\partial\mu}{\partial x}\) and \(\frac{\partial\mu}{\partial y}\) at each of the four points.
    2. On a printout of the figure, draw a qualitatively accurate vector at each point corresponding to the gradient of \(\mu(x,y)\) using your answers to part a above. How did you choose a scale for your vectors? Describe how the direction of the gradient vector is related to the contours on the plot and what property of the contour map is related to the magnitude of the gradient vector.
    3. Evaluate the gradient of \(h(x,y)=(x+1)^2\left(\frac{x}{2}-\frac{y}{3}\right)^3\) at the point \((x,y)=(3,-2)\).

  • Media & Figures
    • figures/contoursfig1.svg
    • figures/contoursfig2.svg
    • figures/contoursHW.png