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Interlude

FIXME: Course site under construction.

The “Math Interlude” is a one-week introduction to the mathematics involved in thermodynamics, that we teach prior to Energy and Entropy. The approach of this interlude is to use the Partial Derivative Machine to provide a physical system to which we can apply mathematical techniques such as total differentials and partial derivatives, and with which students can begin to understand fundamental concepts such as state variables.

For instructions on building your own PDM, see the Partial Derivative Machine page.

Course Goals

  • For students to understand (be able to evaluate, interpret, and manipulate) partial derivatives
  • For students to understand how to use the Partial Derivative Machine as an analog for thermodynamic processes
  • For students to understand (be able to evaluate, interpret, and manipulate) total differentials
  • For students to understand (be able to evaluate, interpret, and manipulate) Maxwell Relations
  • For students to understand (be able to perform and interpret) Legendre Transforms

Textbook: None

Sample syllabus:

Course Contents

Activities Included


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