*In the section below, Dr. Mobolaji Williams explains how he developed the materials for the MITES courses* Introduction to Oscillations and Waves *and* Introduction to Statistical Physics, *and how their content differs from the content of the MIT undergraduate courses* 8.03 Physics III: Vibrations and Waves *and* 8.044 Statistical Physics I*.*

For the *Oscillations and Waves* course, I looked back at the MITES course I took in the 2008 session and used the syllabus there as the inspiration for my own syllabus. One new topic was a final lecture on oscillations in linear systems, which I had always thought was a cool real-world application of oscillatory models. Still, I thought it was important to generate all of my own course material so that the voice in the course notes, assignments, and starter problems matched my own voice during lectures. For this material, I always started with a question (e.g., How can we use physical principles to understand and model simple harmonic motion?) and allowed that question to guide the theoretical discussion that followed. The content of this course differs from that of the MIT 8.03 course in that the MITES course stops at a first introduction to Maxwell’s equations and EM waves, while MIT 8.03 continues on to discuss EM waves in media and the extension into optics.

For the *Statistical Physics* course, I didn’t use other courses for inspiration since most statistical physics courses begin with state equations and gases and I just find those topics less interesting without the statistical physics grounding. Instead I thought about some example systems and techniques I wanted to discuss (e.g., Mean Field Ising Model, DNA Dimerization, MCMC) and developed the material which would allow you to logically build up the theoretical structures of these systems when starting from the laws of thermodynamics. Consequently, the course material is a bit more idiosyncratic and reflects my own interests and perspectives on statistical physics. For example the third lecture has a discussion on intuiting a formula for entropy from a “Guess that Number” game and the lecture on “DNA Dimerization” extended from my research at the time.

The relationship between 8.044 and the MITES course is like a Venn Diagram (as opposed to the mostly “circle within a circle” relationship between MITES *Oscillations and Waves* and 8.03): They share some overlap in basic statistical physics, but there are some things the MITES course covers that 8.044 does not and vice versa. For example, the MITES course does not cover thermodynamic state variables, the grand canonical ensemble, and quantum statistical mechanics. Conversely, MIT 8.044 does not generally cover Laplace’s method for approximating integrals, simulating statistical physics systems, and non-equilibrium statistical physics.