Course Syllabus


Instructor: Prof. Amlan Biswas

Contact Information:

  • Email Address: (all email communication related to the course will be through canvas)
  • Office Phone Number: 352 392 8592

Class hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, period 7, 1:55 pm - 2:45 pm

Location of face to face classes: NPB 1002 (enter from the South door near the bathrooms and exit from the North door)

Location of remote classes: You will use the “Zoom Conferences” tool in Canvas to meet for class. (Select “Upcoming Meetings” tab and then click “Start” or “Join.”)

For both face to face and remote sections: Per UF policy, face-to-face sections must meet in person for at least 51% of our scheduled class time this semester. Hence, you can expect several days of remote instruction, including the first two days of classes, January 11 and 13.  Any remote meetings will be announced in advance (in class and on Canvas). The zoom quizzes and exams (see below) will be given online (on canvas) for both the face to face and online sections and on the zoom quiz and exam days, the class will also be online for both sections (for the zoom quiz and exam dates see course schedule).

Tech support: If you have a technical issue with Canvas or Zoom, please consult UF IT Help immediately (352-392-HELP / 352-392-4357)

Office hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, period 8, 3:00 pm - 3:50 pm (on zoom). At other times you can make an appointment for a zoom meeting.

Textbook: The required text is Blundell and Blundell, Concepts in Thermal Physics, (2nd edition, Oxford University Press) ISBN: 9780199562107.

Coreq: PHY 2049 or equivalent

Synopsis: First part of the  PHY 3513-PHY4523 sequence. Treatment of classical thermodynamics including fundamental postulates, entropy, equations of states. Thermodynamic equilibrium and potentials, Maxwell relations, phase transitions. Physics 3513 will cover selected chapters of the textbook. See outline for details. Lecture slides will be available, usually, a day before class on this website.

Course objectives: To obtain a thorough understanding of thermal physics with detailed mathematical treatment. The link between microscopic and macroscopic properties will be explored. Applications to modern technology will be emphasized along with a historical perspective.

Grading policy:

Homework and in-class zoom quizzes: There will be nine UNGRADED homework assignments during the semester. The homeworks will be discussed in class and the partial solutions to the homework will be made available on the course website 3 to 4 days later. About a week after the homework is assigned, there will be a short (25 minutes) in-class quiz based on that homework. There will be a total of 9 such quizzes (Q0.5 to Q8) and the minimum two scores will be dropped. Each quiz will be worth 6% of the course grade for a total of 42% of the course grade (only Q0 will be for practice and not for grade, Q0.5 to Q8 will be graded). The problems will usually be multiple choice but partial credit will be given if the calculations (uploaded as a file in the quiz) are shown to be partially correct. Also, if your uploaded work does not show how you arrived at the correct answer, then no points will be given even if you have selected the correct answer in the multiple choice. See course schedule for homework and quiz dates. You can have your own work for the corresponding homework assignment, your notes, and textbook during the quiz. The quizzes will usually be on Wednesdays and for uniformity the entire class on the quiz days will be online (even for the face to face section).

Video lectures and video-based quizzes: The video lectures will be like “trailers” for topics to be covered during the upcoming week. These videos will hopefully enhance the discussion of topics during the zoom lectures and encourage student participation. Two short videos will be made available on most Thursdays. The videos will describe briefly the topics to be covered during the zoom lectures on the following Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Each video will have an embedded question (two questions per week) which students will need to answer in the Video Lecture Quizzes (VQ) on canvas by 11:59 am on Monday. There will be a total of 9 such quizzes (VQ1 to VQ9) and the minimum score will be dropped. Each quiz will be worth 2% of the course grade for a total of 16% of the course grade (video lecture 0 will be made available before classes start and the associated questions in VQ0 will not be for grade).

Mid-term exams: There will be THREE IN CLASS (on ZOOM) MID-TERM EXAMS of 50 minutes duration, scheduled for February 10, March 10, and March 31. Each of these exams will be worth 10% of the total grade. Hence the mid-term exams will constitute 30% of the total grade. The mid-term exams will be based on the homeworks assigned in the previous weeks and the quizzes. The exams will be open notes and open book.

Final exam: There will be a 75 minutes, cumulative final exam on April 29 starting 10am. Details about the exam format will be posted here.  The final exam will be worth 12% of the total grade.

Extra credit programming project: There will be a programming project worth 3 extra credits. The project will be based on concepts and techniques learned during the semester. Basic matlab techniques will be discussed in class or in the assigned homeworks. However, students can choose to use a different programming language.

Make-ups: Make-up tests and quizzes will be given if a situation satisfies the make-up policy (see below).

Grade calculation:

3 mid-term tests
30% (10% each)
Best 8 of 9 video-based quizzes
16% (2% each)
Best 7 of 9 zoom quizzes
42% (6% each)
3 extra credits (programming project) 3%
Final exam


Letter Grade Percent Score LaTeX: \left(x\right)
A LaTeX: x\ge90\%
A- LaTeX: 90\%\:>x \:\ge87\%
B+ LaTeX: 87\%\:> x\:\ge85\%
B LaTeX: 85\%\:>x \:\ge80\%
B- LaTeX: 80\%\:> x\:\ge75\%
C+ LaTeX: 75\%\:> x\:\ge70\%
LaTeX: 70\%\:> x\:\ge65\%
C- LaTeX: 65\%\:> x\:\ge60\%
D+ LaTeX: 60\%\:> x\:\ge57\%
D LaTeX: 57\%\:> x\:\ge53\%
D- LaTeX: 53\%\:> x\:\ge50\%
E LaTeX: < 50\%

The percent score ranges may be lowered, depending upon numerous factors, but will not be raised. The course grades are not curved. Link to UF grading policy.

Attendance and make up assignments/tests: Regular attendance is expected but not enforced. In class quizzes are announced in advance. Make up quizzes/exams will be given for valid excused absences. Requirements for class attendance and make-up exams, assignments, and other work in this course are consistent with university policies. Excused absences must be consistent with university policies and require appropriate documentation.  Click here to read the university attendance policies.

For face to face section: We will have face-to-face instructional sessions to accomplish the student learning objectives of this course. In response to COVID-19, the following policies and requirements are in place to maintain your learning environment and to enhance the safety of our in-classroom interactions.

  • You are required to wear approved face coverings at all times during class and within buildings. Following and enforcing these policies and requirements are all of our responsibility. Failure to do so will lead to a report to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution.
  • This course has been assigned a physical classroom with enough capacity to maintain physical distancing (6 feet between individuals) requirements. Please utilize designated seats and maintain appropriate spacing between students. Please do not move desks or stations.
  • Sanitizing supplies are available in the classroom if you wish to wipe down your desks prior to sitting down and at the end of the class.
  • Follow your instructor’s guidance on how to enter and exit the classroom. Practice physical distancing to the extent possible when entering and exiting the classroom.
  • If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (Click here for guidance from the CDC on symptoms of coronavirus), please use the UF Health screening system and follow the instructions on whether you are able to attend class. Click here for UF Health guidance on what to do if you have been exposed to or are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms.

Information for zoom sessions: Our class sessions may be audio visually recorded for students in the class to refer back and for enrolled students who are unable to attend live. Students who participate with their camera engaged or utilize a profile image are agreeing to have their video or image recorded.  If you are unwilling to consent to have your profile or video image recorded, be sure to keep your camera off and do not use a profile image. Likewise, students who un-mute during class and participate orally are agreeing to have their voices recorded.  If you are not willing to consent to have your voice recorded during class, you will need to keep your mute button activated and communicate exclusively using the "chat" feature, which allows students to type questions and comments live. The chat will not be recorded or shared. As in all courses, unauthorized recording and unauthorized sharing of recorded materials is prohibited.

Holiday (no classes): Martin Luther King Day (January 18)

Recharge day (no classes): March 24

Course evaluations: Students are expected to provide professional and respectful feedback on the quality of instruction in this course by completing course evaluations online via GatorEvals. Click here for guidance on how to give feedback in a professional and respectful manner. Students will be notified when the evaluation period opens, and can complete evaluations through the email they receive from GatorEvals, in their Canvas course menu under GatorEvals, or via Summaries of course evaluation results are available to students here.

Accommodations: Students with disabilities who experience learning barriers and would like to request academic accommodations should connect with the disability Resource Center. Click here to get started with the Disability Resource Center. It is important for students to share their accommodation letter with their instructor and discuss their access needs, as early as possible in the semester.

Academic Honesty: UF students are bound by The Honor Pledge which states, “We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honor and integrity by abiding by the Honor Code. On all work submitted for credit by students at the University of Florida, the following pledge is either required or implied: “On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment.” The Honor Code specifies a number of behaviors that are in violation of this code and the possible sanctions. Click here to read the Honor Code. Furthermore, you are obligated to report any condition that facilitates academic misconduct to appropriate personnel. If you have any questions or concerns, please consult with the instructor or TAs in this class.

Campus resources:

Health and Wellness

Academic Resources

Course Summary:

Date Details Due