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Paperback - 9783030045425

23 November 2019

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23 November 2019

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This textbook presents an introduction to the use of probability in physics, treating introductory ideas of both statistical physics and of statistical inference, as well the importance of probability in information theory,...

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This textbook presents an introduction to the use of probability in physics, treating introductory ideas of both statistical physics and of statistical inference, as well the importance of probability in information theory, quantum mechanics, and stochastic processes, in a unified manner. The book also presents a harmonised view of frequentist and Bayesian approaches to inference, emphasising their complementary value. The aim is to steer a middle course between the "cookbook" style and an overly dry mathematical statistics style. The treatment is driven by real physics examples throughout, but developed with a level of mathematical clarity and rigour appropriate to mid-career physics undergraduates. Exercises and solutions are included.

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Explains the use of probability in physics motivated by real physics examples throughout

Presents a modern approach to statistics, with a harmonised and simplified view of traditional and Bayesian approaches

Emerges from a one-semester twenty-lecture course taught to junior honours students

Aims to cover the role of probability anywhere in physics

Offers exercises and solutions


Part I: The Basics
Randomness and Probability
Distributions, Moments, and Errors
Part II: Frequency Distributions in the Physical World
Counting the Ways: Arrangements and Subsets
Counting Statistics: Binomial and Poisson Distributions
Combining Many Factors: The Gaussian Distribution
Distributions Arising from Random Processes in Time
Part III: Probabilistic Inference: Reasoning in the Presence of Uncertainty
Hypothesis Testing
Parameter Estimation
Inference With Two Variables: Correlation Testing and Line Fitting
Model Fitting
Part IV: Selected Topics
Information, Uncertainty, and Surprise
Erratic Time Series
Probability in Quantum Physics
Entropy, Complexity, and the Arrow of Time
Solutions.
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Andy Lawrence is the Regius Professor of Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh. His research interests are in Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN), observational cosmology, survey astronomy, and e-science (the Virtual Observatory). He has been teaching an undergraduate course on Probability in Physics with a new angle. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and author of the Springer book Astronomical Measurement.

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Andy Lawrence is the Regius Professor of Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh. His research interests are in Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN), observational cosmology, survey astronomy, and e-science (the Virtual Observatory). He has been teaching an undergraduate course on Probability in Physics with a new angle. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and author of the Springer book Astronomical Measurement.

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