Basic thermodynamics: Classical and Statistical Approaches

By Prof. Arnab Mukherjee   |   IISER Pune
Learners enrolled: 105
ABOUT THE COURSE : In this course, we will now find out the reason for changes in matters (Chemical Principles II). The earlier course, Chemical Principles I, deals with the matter itself, and the understanding of it comes from quantum mechanics. However, for the change of matter, thermodynamics says the final word. The most critical quantity in thermodynamics is the entropy, and this course is all about understanding entropy and related thermodynamic potentials. Although classical thermodynamics was developed from observations and heuristic understanding, statistical thermodynamics provides a microscopic basis of it. In this course, a holistic approach covering three different approaches (classical, statistical, and postulate-based) of thermodynamics will be covered. The objective of this course is demystification the enigma of entropy. 

INTENDED AUDIENCE  : First-year undergraduates of B.Sc. in Chemistry. Some of the concepts are helpful for M.Sc. students in physical chemistry and
  doctoral students who would need to refresh their concepts of thermodynamics.
PRE-REQUISITES   It requires 12th standard mathematics. It requires the knowledge of calculus (differentiation) and basic probability.
INDUSTRY SUPPORT  : This course will be helpful for all students across disciplines because of its fundamental nature.
Course Status : Upcoming
Course Type : Core
Duration : 12 weeks
Start Date : 23 Jan 2023
End Date : 14 Apr 2023
Exam Date : 30 Apr 2023 IST
Enrollment Ends : 30 Jan 2023
Category :
  • Chemistry
Credit Points : 3
Level : Undergraduate

Page Visits

Course layout

Week 1:  Thermodynamics everywhere; historical development of thermodynamics; Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics and concept of temperature; 
Week 2:  Discussion on internal energy heat and work; First Law of Thermodynamics
Week 3:  State function and path function; calculation of p-V work
Week 4:  Heat capacities; Joule & Joule-Thomson expansion; Some practice problems; thermochemistry
Week 5:  Second Law of thermodynamics (various statements and their equivalence); Carnot cycle; definition of entropy
Week 6:  Heat engines and their efficiencies; practice problems on the classical second law
Week 7:  Statistical Formulation of the Second Law (probability overview; Boltzmann formula, distribution of energy)
Week 8:  Statistical formulation of the Second Law continued (the most probable distribution, Boltzmann distribution)
Week 9:  Calculation of entropy for various processes using Boltzmann entropy formula
Week 10:  Fundamental equation and entropy postulates; introduction to free energies
Week 11:  Maxwell Relations and conversion of thermodynamic derivatives
Week 12:  Applications of free energy

Books and references

1. Robert J. Silbey, Robert A. Alberty, Moungi G. Bawendi, Physical Chemistry, 4th Edition, John Wiley & Sons 2005.
2. Peter Atkins, Julio de Paula, Physical Chemistry, 9th edition, W. H. Freeman and Company, New York 2010.
3. Mark W. Zemansky and Richard R. Dittman, Heat and Thermodynamics, Seventh Edition, McGraw-Hill Inc, USA 1981. 
4. Robert M. Hanson and Susan Green, Introduction to Molecular Thermodynamics, University Science books 2008.
5. Ken A. Dill and Sarina Bromberg, Molecular Driving Forces, Second edition, Garland Science, New York 20115. 
6. Herbert B. Callen, Thermodynamics and an introduction to Thermostatistics, 2nd edition, John Wiley & Sons 1985.

Instructor bio

Prof. Arnab Mukherjee

Arnab Mukherjee did his B. Sc from Jadavpur University, Kolkata in 1998. He then joined Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore as an integrated Ph.D. student in chemical sciences. He completed his Ph.D. from S. S. C. U. department of IISc Bangalore in 2005 under the supervision of Professor Biman Bagchi. Dr. Mukherjee then went for his postdoctoral research to Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris, France from 2005 to 2007 and then to the University of Colorado, Boulder from 2007 to 2009. He then joined IISER Pune as an assistant professor in November 2009. He became an associate professor in 2015. Dr. Mukherjee works on the computational biophysics area such as drug-DNA intercalation, DNA structural changes, single water entropy, protein folding, protein-DNA interaction, dynamical recrossing, internal friction in proteins, etc. He also collaborates with experimental colleagues in various projects such as synthetic ion channels, spectroscopic investigation of molecular recognition, etc. He has over eight years of teaching experience at IISER Pune.

Course certificate

The course is free to enroll and learn from. But if you want a certificate, you have to register and write the proctored exam conducted by us in person at any of the designated exam centres.
The exam is optional for a fee of Rs 1000/- (Rupees one thousand only).
Date and Time of Exams: 
30 April 2023 Morning session 9am to 12 noon; Afternoon Session 2pm to 5pm.
Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published. If there are any changes, it will be mentioned then.
Please check the form for more details on the cities where the exams will be held, the conditions you agree to when you fill the form etc.


Average assignment score = 25% of average of best 8 assignments out of the total 12 assignments given in the course.
Exam score = 75% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100

Final score = Average assignment score + Exam score

YOU WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR A CERTIFICATE ONLY IF AVERAGE ASSIGNMENT SCORE >=10/25 AND EXAM SCORE >= 30/75. If one of the 2 criteria is not met, you will not get the certificate even if the Final score >= 40/100.

Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup.It will have the logos of NPTEL and IISER Pune. It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.

Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies will not be dispatched.

Once again, thanks for your interest in our online courses and certification. Happy learning.

- NPTEL team

MHRD logo Swayam logo


Goto google play store