Convenor: Stephen Powell (Nottingham)
Module Code: SM2
Duration: 10 one hour sessions
Start Date and Commitments
A phase transition is a sudden qualitative change in the properties of a physical system when a parameter, such as temperature, is tuned through a critical value. In the vicinity of such transitions, remarkable behaviour can be observed, such as universality and (approximate) scale invariance. These critical phenomena can be understood using the "renormalization group", which relates a set of effective descriptions on a range of length scales, and also provides a framework for the calculation of physical observables.
This module will give an introduction to phase transitions, critical phenomena, and the renormalization group, mainly in the context of classical and quantum spin models. It is intended mainly for students in condensed matter theory, but much of the material is relevant for other areas of theoretical physics.