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Course info: Phy 770

Time and Place MWF 12-12:50pm 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 matlab "labs" and problems to focus on applications.

Course Format 

This course combines traditional lecture classes  with some class participation along with problem solving. There will be computational lab-type classes with numeric problems usually on Fridays. 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


  • There will be one midterm on March 2nd 2017 at 12pm in Olin 107. Parts or all of it will be take-home.
  • The comprehensive final exam will be at least partially 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.