Statistical Mechanics III

Statistical Mechanics III (Fall '12)

This course will discuss some advanced topics in statistical physics, e.g. phase transitions, critical phenomena, the renormalization group and so on, first reviewing various more basic aspects of statistical physics. I will not use any single book as such, but a blend of various material.

Books (text+reference): Feynman, Lectures on Statistical Mechanics; K. Huang, Statistical mechanics (2nd edn);
Landau, Lifshitz, Statistical Physics (vol.1), [Course of theoretical physics]; Cardy, Scaling and renormalization in statistical physics; Goldenfeld, Lectures on phase transitions and the renormalization group; ...

Course outline (broadly):
Review of statistical physics, partition functions and thermodynamics [e.g. multiple decoupled harmonic oscillators; blackbody radiation; lattice vibrations, phonons, specific heat; Pauli exclusion principle and fermion systems; ground state and Fermi surface; chemical potential; Bose-Einstein condensation; fermions and electronic specific heat];
Aspects of superconductivity [basic descriptions of the phenomena, London equation and the Anderson-Higgs mechanism, Landau-Ginzburg effective action, Cooper pairs and barebones of the BCS theory],
Spin systems and the Ising model, the 1-D Ising model and the Jordan-Wigner transformation to free fermions, phase transitions and critical phenomena, phenomenology and scaling laws, Landau mean field theory, rudiments of block spins, the Wilsonian renormalization group and scaling towards the Fermi surface etc.

Assignments (sometimes incorporated into class): 25%

Midsem exam, 35%,

Endsem exam, 40%.

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