Like so many texts, this book grew out of lecture notes and problems that I developed through teaching, specifically, graduate thermodynamics over the past seven years. These notes were originally motivated by my difficulty in finding a satisfactory introductory text to both classical thermodynamics and statistical mechanics that could be used for a quarter-long course for first-year chemical engineering graduate students. However, as the years pressed forward, it became apparent that there was a greater opportunity to construct a new presentation of these classic subjects that addressed the needs of the modern student. Namely, few existing books seem to provide an integrated view of both classical and molecular perspectives on thermodynamics, at a sufficient level of rigor to address graduate-level problems.
It has become clear to me that first-year graduate students respond best to a molecular-level “explanation” of the classic laws, at least upon initial discussion. For them this imparts a more intuitive understanding of thermodynamic potentials and, in particular, entropy and the second law. Moreover, students’ most frequent hurdles are conceptual in nature, not mathematical, and I sense that many older presentations are inaccessible to them because concepts are buried deep under patinas of unnecessarily complex notation and equations.