In this course we will aim for understanding the thermodynamics of chemical and biomolecular systems. We will first review classical, macroscopic thermodynamics, covering concepts such as equilibrium, stability, and the role of thermodynamic potentials. Our goal will be to gain a feel for the generality of thermodynamics. Statistical mechanics provides a link between the mechanics of atoms and macroscopic thermodynamics. We will introduce this branch in two distinct ways: (1) following standard methods of developing concepts such as ensembles and partition functions, and (2) where we will treat the basis of statistical mechanics as a problem in inference. With this foundation, we will consider concepts relevant to understanding the liquid state. Chemical transformations in a liquid are of importance in much of chemistry and biology; quasi-chemical generalizations of the potential distribution theorem will be introduced to present these ideas. We hope to give an overview of modern developments relating equilibrium work to non-equilibrium work, as these are of increasing importance in studies on single molecule systems. Registration by instructor permission only.
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