Robert Q. Topper

Professor of Chemistry

Ch 460: Statistical Mechanics and Computational Chemistry

Statistical mechanics provides a conceptual framework connecting quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, and classical mechanics. It also provides computational tools of great importance in atomistic and coarse-grained simulations of complex systems.

This course covers foundation and advanced material in statistical mechanics, including simulation methods (Monte Carlo and Molecular Dynamics are emphasized, and machine learning methods are also introduced) as well as a detailed study of intermolecular forces. Students electing this course have generally been majoring in chemical, electrical or interdisciplinary engineering.

This page will be updated as final decisions are made for textbooks to be used in Fall 2024. In the meantime, please have a look at the materials below.

The planned course syllabus for Spring 2022 is here: Ch460_SyllabusSpring2022_proposed

Textbooks for Spring 2022 (tentatively):

(1) Statistical Mechanics by D.A. McQuarrie (University Science Press, 2000). See here: 

(Alt text: Statistical Thermodynamics by the same author - this is out of print, but is perfectly fine for our course).

There will also be readings and assignments from other, online sources:

(2) Introduction to Molecular Simulation and Statistical Thermodynamics by T.J.H. Vlugt et al. (FREE and on the internet here at ; includes simulation software! A great intro to Monte Carlo, molecular dynamics and several other topics. The perfect complement to McQuarrie's classic text. Plus, did I mention it's free? 

Supplementary reading (also free): 

(3) Thermodynamics and Chemistry by H. DeVoe (FREE and on the internet at ). A great brush-up / level-up textbook on the material covered in Ch 160 and ChE 232/331.