Math in the Physical Sciences

Classical Physics and Mathematics

What is statistical mechanics?

Statistical mechanics applies statistics to the field of mechanics—the motion of particles or objects when subjected to a force. It is used to understand the properties of single atoms and molecules of liquids, solids, gases—even the individual quanta of light that make up electromagnetic radiation—to the bulk properties of everyday materials. Because statistical mechanics mathematically helps to understand the interactions between a large number of microscopic elements, it is used in a wide range of fields. In a way, it is also the “opposite” of thermodynamics, which approaches the same types of systems from a macroscopic, or large-scale, point of view.


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