Statistical Fluctuations and Elements of Physical Kinetics

Explore and explain key ideas of physical kinetics, for systems both at equilibrium and then driven out of equilibrium by a variety of factors.  Derive the very important relation (FDT) between fluctuations and dissipation in a dynamic system coupled to a noisy environment. Describe (within certain approximations) the dynamics of classical systems driven out of equilibrium. Apply models and equations to quantify the transport properties of some idealized solid-state and condensed-matter systems. Extend some of these ideas to quantum systems, in particular those interacting with an environment, and explore the dynamics of dissipative ("open") quantum systems.  Develop an intuitive understating of the physical picture rather than pursuing a rigorous mathematical description of the phenomena with numerous examples and model problems from solid state and condensed matter physics, atomic physics, and quantum optics, and reinforce these with regular problem sets.

Prerequisites or Prior Knowledge

Statistical Physics (B12) or Statistical Mechanics, Critical Phenomena and Renormalization Group (A225); anything equivalent to a basic course on Nonrelativistic Quantum Mechanics.