This course will cover about 200 years of research in the field of statistical thermodynamics, with the emphasis on thermodynamics of non-equilibrium processes. We will begin with the foundations laid in the 19th century by briefly reviewing the statistical thermodynamics of equilibrium systems. Then, systems slightly away from equilibrium will be discussed. Our main interest will be in the system’s response to a weak external perturbation and in the evolution of the system towards the equilibrium state; the main results in this field have been obtained in the early and mid 20th century. Finally, some intriguing findings of the last two decades concerning the systems arbitrarily far from equilibrium will be discussed. It is hoped that the course will be useful and interesting for both undergraduate and graduate students. The lectures will be given in English, and the lecture notes will be available on the web. The approximate course plan is as follows:
Part I. In equilibrium.
Three laws of thermodynamics. Statistical foundations of thermodynamics. Approach to equilibrium. Problems and paradoxes.
Part II. Close to equilibrium.
Linear response theory. Kramers-Kronig relation. Fluctuation-dissipation theorem. Green-Kubo relations. Onsager relations. Curzon-Ahlborn heat engine.
Part III. Far from equilibrium.
Fluctuation theorem. Jarzynski relation.