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  • © 2019

Probability in Physics

An Introductory Guide

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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 of the book series: Undergraduate Lecture Notes in Physics (ULNP)

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  • ISBN: 978-3-030-04544-9
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Table of contents (14 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xxiv
  2. The Basics

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 1-1
    2. Randomness and Probability

      • Andy Lawrence
      Pages 3-18
    3. Distributions, Moments, and Errors

      • Andy Lawrence
      Pages 19-38
  3. Frequency Distributions in the Physical World

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 39-39
  4. Probabilistic Inference: Reasoning in the Presence of Uncertainty

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 113-114
    2. Hypothesis Testing

      • Andy Lawrence
      Pages 115-136
    3. Parameter Estimation

      • Andy Lawrence
      Pages 137-158
    4. Model Fitting

      • Andy Lawrence
      Pages 183-206
  5. Selected Topics

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 207-207
    2. Information, Uncertainty, and Surprise

      • Andy Lawrence
      Pages 209-231
    3. Erratic Time Series

      • Andy Lawrence
      Pages 233-259
    4. Probability in Quantum Physics

      • Andy Lawrence
      Pages 261-284
    5. Entropy, Complexity, and the Arrow of Time

      • Andy Lawrence
      Pages 285-309
  6. Back Matter

    Pages 311-347

About this book

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.

Keywords

  • Probability textbook
  • "Bayesian" approach
  • "Frequentist" approach
  • Binomial, Poisson, and related distributions
  • Gaussian distribution
  • Hypothesis testing
  • Randomness, probability, and credibility
  • Statistical inference
  • Statistics for physicists
  • Stochastic processes

Authors and Affiliations

  • Institute for Astronomy, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

    Andy Lawrence

About the author

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.

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

eBook
USD 54.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-04544-9
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD 69.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)