Ge 212 Thermodynamics of Geological Systems

Fall 2019

Syllabus (revised 10/4/19)


Professor:  Paul Asimow (253 Arms;; x4133)


Teaching Assistant:  There is no T/A. It's just me this year.


Collaboration Policy: See the Ge101 policy sheet.


Lecture Times:  MWF 10:00 – 10:55 AM in 251 Arms.


Required Text:

1. Thermodynamics of Natural Systems, 3rd edition, by G. M. Anderson, Cambridge University Press 2017 (hereafter TNS). This is a new book, free of the errors that plagued the previous edition, and available as new rather than icky reprinted copies. Cambridge Press has a website of associated free material at Note, I haven’t really seen the 3rd edition yet, so I’m not entirely clear on what is in the main chapters and what has been moved to online appendices … we’ll figure it out.

2. Ed Stolper’s re-copied notes from James B. Thompsons’s Harvard class Ge 253: Note that this reading goes into more detail than we have time for in this quarter. Focus on the earlier parts of the development for each of one, two, and three-component systems. Don’t obsess about the analytical development or all the complex degeneracies considered later in the each section.


Class Website: may be used in various ways as the class develops.


Subject to Revision: e.g., there are 7 problem sets listed below but we may only get through 6 of them. Just so you know.



WEEK 1: October 2, 4

   Concepts, Mathematical Background, Definitions

   Reading: TNS Chapters 1-2, online material “Topics in mathematics”


WEEK 2: October 7, 9, 11 [10/11 lecture will recorded and posted as unlisted Youtube video!]

   The Laws of Thermodynamics

   Problem Set 1 due Friday 10/11

   Reading: TNS Chapters 3-4


WEEK 3: October 16, 18 [10/14 lecture will recorded and posted as unlisted Youtube video!; ’Add day' is Friday 10/18]

   Detour into statistical mechanics; standard state properties 

   Problem Set 2 due Friday 10/18

   Reading: TNS Chapter 5


WEEK 4: October 21, 23, 25

   One-component systems

   Problem Set 3 due Friday 10/25

   Reading: TNS Chapter 6, JBT notes pp. 66-92 


WEEK 5: October 28, 30, November 1

   Ideal and non-ideal solutions

   Midterm week bonus: no problem set due

   Reading: TNS Chapter 7-8, online material: real solutions


WEEK 6: November 4, 6, 8

   Law of mass action and open systems

   Problem Set 4 due Friday 11/8

   Reading: TNS Chapters 9, 10


WEEK 7: November 11, 13, 15

   Solids, gases, and liquids

   Problem Set 5 due Monday 11/18

   Reading: TNS online material: Equations of state, Solid solutions


WEEK 8: November 18, 20, 22 ('Drop day' is Wednesday 11/22)

   Redox equilibria, Phase Equilibria in binary systems

   Problem Set 6 due Wednesday 11/27

   Reading: TNS Chapter 11, online material: The phase rule


WEEK 9: November 25, 27 (Thanksgiving break includes Friday)

   More binary systems

   Thanksgiving week bonus: no new problem set

   Reading: JBT notes, pages 93-167


WEEK 10: December 2, 4, 6

   Phase equilibria of ternary systems

   Problem Set 7 due Friday 12/6

   Reading: JBT notes, pages 168-238


Exam available Friday December 6, due by 5:00 PM Friday December 13.



                  Problem Sets 75%

                  Final Exam 25%