The overall object of thermal and statistical physics is to understand
the behavior of macroscopic systems from the microscopic interactions
between the particles making up the systems. Is this possible? In gen-
eral? Yes. We know of many examples where the collective properties
of macroscopic objects do not depend on the microscopic details. For
example, a liquid will behave as a liquid if it is made from metal, glass,
water, polymers (macromolecules) or liquid hydrogen!
Macroscopic materials have common properties that do not depend
on the details of the interactions in the materials. The details of the
interactions in metals and in polymers are very different, but the behavior
of liquids such as fluid dynamics and phase transitions are similar – they
are common for all liquids – independent of the details.
Macroscopic objects have their own laws and behaviors which we must
understand, learn, and preferrably develop a theoretical foundation for
based on microscopic interactions – this is how we will claim that we
the behavior of a system.
What kinds of questions will we be ab|