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Course info: Phy 770

Time and Place MW 2-2:50pm Olin 107, F 2-2:50pm Olin 105.
Course Instructor Professor Salsbury  
Contact Info salsbufr@wfu.edu, Olin 301A

Textbooks/Course Materials 

Course Overview 

This course is an introductory graduate-level course in statistical mechanics; largely classical statistical mechanics. The course follows Sethna's text fairly closely, albeit with more emphasis on free energies. . There will also be weekly matlab "labs" and problems to focus on applications.

Course Format 

This classic a traditional lecture class on monday's and wednesday's, with some class participation. Friday's, however, the class converts to a lab-type format with numeric problems. Homework problems will be due Wednesdays by 4:00pm, usually, in the grader's mailbox. 

Outside of class you will be responsible for the following: 

  • Reading the relevant assignment before class; whichever one(s) listed on the course calendar.
    • It will be difficult to follow without reading beforehand.
  • Completing your homework by 4pm most Wednesdays.
    • Getting behind on homework is the easiest way to do poorly in physics.

Inside of class you will be responsible for the following: 

  • Interacting with your classmates and Dr. Salsbury, as appropriate.
  • Paying attention, and 
  • Asking questions!

Online Resources


Use the course calendar: also embedded below, for a detailed syllabus, for assignments, for exam dates, for class cancellations, or anything else requring a date. You can subscribe to it as well, but do not just import events, as events can change during the semester. 


  • There will be one midterm on March 4th 2016 at 2pm in Olin 107.
  • The comprehensive final exam will be take-home.
  • They are intended to be challenging but doable.


  • Working problems is the only way to really learn physics.
  • The homework is the most important component of the course.
  • Usually Wednesdays by 4pm.
  • Homework Assignments: Click Here

GRADING Percentages

  • Homework: 50% 
  • Midterms: 10%
  • Final: 40%


  • This median grade for this course is usually an A.