Complex System Dynamics



Course Syllabus
Class Venue/Times

Links on this page:



Office Hours

Teaching Assistants


Course Goals


Texts & References



CHM 252/442: Home Page

Under constructionThis is the web site for the physical chemistry course Chm252/442. This course aims to provide theoretical context and practice applications for students interested in deepening their understanding of complex phenomena underlying laboratory physical chemistry, technology, and environmental processes.
Additional pages are accessible via the navigation bar on top, including reference to a graduate course on statitsical theory .

General Course Information

Course Goals
To assist students in their task to develop a deeper understanding of the complex dynamics of simple and complex systems, emphasizing statistical aspects of natural and induced processes and the structured matter to which they lead. It is also meant to introduce and practice tools or methods allowing science and technology to control such processes.


Professor W. Udo Schröder (

Lectures: Tuesdays/Thursdays 9:40 - 10:55 hr, Hy 202

....First Lecture: Thursday, January 12, 2023, 9:40-10:55 hr, Hy 202
....First Workshops: Week of January 15 (cf schedule)

This course has been conceived with 2 per week in-person lectures and one weekly in-person meeting for each workshop. The workshops provide opportunities to review and deepen material covered in class, to practice applications, and to pose and answer questions.

Contents of the lecture materials and presentations will be available for downloading and preparation by students prior to class meetings.

Compliance with Campus health protocols is expected.Should general and Campus health safety require,in-person meetings may be be replaced by online classes.

Attendance at all class meetings is required.

This course follows the UR College Credit Hour Policy for 4-credit courses. The class meets twice a week, each for one-one-half academic hours. Course work includes regular out-of-class reading of online lecture notes and assigned textbook sections, and regular homework assignments. Graduate credits require additional work on computational projects.

Students are required to review, and agree to comply with, the UR Policies on Academic Honesty.

Students are encouraged to use regular office hours held by the instructor, which are meant to answer questions and help students to achieve course goals. Students are expected to complete an additional 8 hours of supplementary work per week on reviewing lecture presentations, completing homework, and previewing upcoming class presentations.


WorkshopsIn-person meetings. Online meetings contingent on Campus safety status:

Dora Rishab
M, 3:40-5:40 
202 Todd Union 
Dora Rishab
R, 3:25-5:25 
335 Hopeman
Seungjae (Charlie) Chun
F, 3:00-5:00 
114B Hutchison

Office Hours
W. Udo Schröder:
Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:00 - 1:30 p.m.,
In-person Hutchison Hall (HH) 466 or by appointment

Teaching Assistants
Rishab Dora, W 5-6 pm, Carlson Library
Seungjae (Charlie) Chun:M 12noon-1 pm, Carlson Library

Introductory chemistry/physics (e.g. Chm 131/132; Phy 113) and math (Mth 143) courses. Familiarity with complex analysis and calculus, principles of modern physics and chemistry. For graduate credit, some prior familiarity with high-level computer languages (MathCad, Mathematica) is useful, but not required. Sufficient competence in the use of Microsoft Office (or similar) software such as MS-Word or MS-Excel is assumed.

The topics discussed in this course are tentatively categorized here but may be updated and/or recombined, as required.

  • Deterministic and Stochastic Processes in Nature
    Complex behavior of classical and quantum particle systems
    Aspects of statistics and information theory
    Statistical mechanics based on partition functions
    Phenomenology and applications of thermodynamics
    Transport Phenomena
    Statistical Mechanics at chemical equilibrium

    Critical phenomena, phase transitions

Texts and Reference Materials
This course does not strictly follow outline or material of any specific text book. However, draft transcripts of the lectures are available on this site. In addition, most of the topics discussed are covered to some extent in the texts listed below. Since regular topic review will be assigned, students are advised to obtain at least electronic access to one of the textbooks below.

Text References:

W. Udo Schröder,on-line Lecture Notes on Complex System Dynamics, "From deterministic Order to Molecular Chaos"(on this website)

Recommended Supplemental Textbooks

D.A. McQuarrie & J.D. SImon, "Molecular Thermodynamics"

University Science Books, Viva Student Edition,
ISBN 978-81-309-1586-9

D. Kondepudi & I. Prigogine, "Modern Thermodynamics," 2nd ed., Wiley, ISBN 978-1-118-37181-7 (pbk).
online course reserves: Kondepudi-Text

Additional reference texts (Mathematics):

J. R. Barrante,Applied Mathematics for Physical Chemistry, 2. Edition, Prentice Hall, ISBN 0-13-741737-3

L. Schwartz, Mathematics for the Physical Sciences, Dover Publications, 2008, ISBN 13-978-0-486-46662-0

E.B. Saff and A.D. Snider: Complex Analysis for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering,
Prentice Hall, 1976, ISBN 0-13-327461-6

Licenses for student use of certain computer software packages, such as Microsoft Office, MathCad, Matlab, and Mathematica, are maintained by the University.

Access to preliminary versions of actual lecture presentations will be given prior to associated class times.Lecture presentations can be downloaded in various formats if marked by colored links on the web page "Lecture Notes."

This page is accessible on the navigation bar on top of each page of the site. The recommended file format for download is .pdf. Videos, audio and animations may become available in respective mp4, avi, mpeg or wmv formats.

Several refer
ence books are on electronic Reserve in Carlson Library.


Assignments include regular preparatory readings from above (or similar) texts and of the posted lecture notes, working-up of provided class notes/presentations, homework/workshop sets of exercises.
Graduate credits require illustrating concepts and applications by developing codes in MathCad(MCD15, Prime), Matlab, Mathematica, or Microsoft Excel programming environments.
Students are expected to attend class and workshops meetings, demonstrate solutions to homework problems or computer projects.

Written exams: Two In-term (1-1/2) hour exams and one Final exam. For graduate credit, the latter can potentially be substituted by a numerical computer project.

Grades will be computed mainly from student performance in homeworks/workshops (20%), two in-term (each 15%), and Final (50%) written exams.
Tentative exam times: I:March 2, II:April 11, F: May 4

Disclaimer (Please read before using the presentations on this site)