Teaching Statistical Physics by Thinking about Models and Algorithms

written by
Jan Tobochnik and
Harvey Gould

This article discusses several ways of illustrating fundamental concepts in statistical and thermal physics by considering various models and algorithms. We emphasize the importance of replacing students' incomplete mental images by models that are physically accurate. In some cases it is sufficient to discuss the results of an algorithm or the behavior of a model rather than having students write a program.

<a href="http://www.compadre.org/OSP/items/detail.cfm?ID=7647">Tobochnik, Jan, and Harvey Gould. "Teaching Statistical Physics by Thinking about Models and Algorithms." Am. J. Phys. 76, no. 4&5, (April 1, 2008): 353-359.</a>

J. Tobochnik and H. Gould, Am. J. Phys. 76 (4&5), 353 (2008), WWW Document, (http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=7647&DocID=620).

J. Tobochnik and H. Gould, Teaching Statistical Physics by Thinking about Models and Algorithms, Am. J. Phys. 76 (4&5), 353 (2008), <http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=7647&DocID=620>.

Tobochnik, J., & Gould, H. (2008, April 1). Teaching Statistical Physics by Thinking about Models and Algorithms. Am. J. Phys., 76(4&5), 353-359. Retrieved August 5, 2015, from http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=7647&DocID=620

Tobochnik, Jan, and Harvey Gould. "Teaching Statistical Physics by Thinking about Models and Algorithms." Am. J. Phys. 76, no. 4&5, (April 1, 2008): 353-359, http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=7647&DocID=620 (accessed 5 August 2015).

Tobochnik, Jan, and Harvey Gould. "Teaching Statistical Physics by Thinking about Models and Algorithms." Am. J. Phys. 76.4&5 (2008): 353-359. 5 Aug. 2015 <http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=7647&DocID=620>.

@article{
Author = "Jan Tobochnik and Harvey Gould",
Title = {Teaching Statistical Physics by Thinking about Models and Algorithms},
Journal = {Am. J. Phys.},
Volume = {76},
Number = {4&5},
Pages = {353-359},
Month = {April},
Year = {2008}
}

%0 Journal Article %A Tobochnik, Jan %A Gould, Harvey %D April 1, 2008 %T Teaching Statistical Physics by Thinking about Models and Algorithms %J Am. J. Phys. %V 76 %N 4&5 %P 353-359 %8 April 1, 2008 %U http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=7647&DocID=620

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The STP Application Package contains a collection of OSP programs for the study of statistical and thermal physics concepts. This article describes some of OSP-based programs and shows how OSP-based materials can be used to study STP concepts.