Introduction to Many Body Physics.

620 Fall 2017

Piers Coleman, Rutgers University.
NOTE: First day of class: Weds Sept 13th 2016.

Images Monograph Texts
Times of Course
Syllabus outline


Maxwellian construction of a Fermi Surface

Cuprate superconductor levitating a magnet.

Quantum Critical Point:
"Black hole" in the material phase diagram.

Adiabatic concept: basis of perturbation theory.

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Instructor: Piers Coleman, Room 268
If you have any enquiries about this course or the homework, please do not hesitate to contact me via email at : coleman@physics.rutgers.edu

Scope of Course. Many body physics provides the framework for understanding the collective behavior of vast assemblies of interacting particles. This course provides an introduction to this field, introducing you to the main techniques and concepts, aiming to give you first-hand experience in calculations and problem solving using these methods.

Students with disabilities 

    Introduction to Many Body Physics.

          The content of this course, with additional material will be my book "Introduction to Many Body Physics", published by Cambridge University Press and available on Amazon

Introduction to Many Body Physics.


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  • Texts: Here are some other good references for the course.

      • Many-Particle Physics, Third Edition  by G. Mahan. (Plenum, 2000). A classic text on Many body physics.  Focuses on diagramatic and Greens Functions method. Very thorough but a little  dated.
      • Condensed Matter Field Theory by Alexander Altland and Ben Simons.(CUP, 2006)
        An excellent introduction to Field Theory applied in condensed matter physics. I almost decided to make this the main text, as I like it greatly. 
      • Basic Notions in Condensed Matter Physics by P. W. Anderson. A classic reference. Many of us still turn to this book for inspiration, and philosophy. It also has a fine selection of important reprints at the back.

      Traditional Many Body Theory and Greens Functions

      • ``Methods of Quantum Field Theory in Statistical Physics'' by Abrikosov, Gorkov and Dzyalozinskii. (Dover Paperback) - Classic text from the sixties, known usually as AGD.
      • ``A guide to Feynman Diagrams in the Many-Body problem by R. D. Mattuck. A light introduction to the subject. Reprinted by Dover.
      • ``Greens functions for Solid State Physics'' S.Doniach and E. H. Sondheimer. Not as thorough as AGD, but less threatening and somehow more manageable. Frontiers in Physics series no 44.
      • ``Quantum Many Particle Systems'' by J. W. Negele and H. Orland. Alas all the good physics is in the unsolved excercises! However, it is the only one of this set to touch on the subject of functional integrals.

      Newer approaches to Many-Body Problem.

      • R. Shankar, Rev Mod Phys 66 129 (1994). An amazingly self-contained review of the renormalization group and functional integral techniques written by one of the best expositors of condensed matter physics.
      • ``Field Theories of Condensed Matter Physics'' by E. Fradkin. (Frontiers in Physics, Addison Wesley). Interesting material on the fractional statistics and the fractional quantum Hall effect.
      • ``Quantum Field Theory in Condensed Matter Physics'' by A. Tsvelik. (Cambridge paper back) Very good for one dimensional systems. No exercises.

      Further references:

      • The Theory of Quantum Liquids by D. Pines and P. Nozieres. Excellent introduction to Fermi liquid theory that avoids the use of field theory.
      • Statistical Physics, vol II by Lifshitz and Pitaevskii. Pergammon. Marvellous book on applications of many body physics, mainly to condensed matter physics.

      Online references     (Check it out- this is a great link).

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Exercises 620
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          Initial quiz  Selected Answers
          Exercise 1  Answers
          Exercise 2  Answers
          Exercise 3  Answers
          Exercise 4  Answers
          Exercise 5  Answers
          Exercise 6  Answers


(Return to top)        Note: this material is copywritten and should not be posted without permission.

Times: 12.00 am on Wednesday  and 1.40 pm on Fridays in  ARC-212.  Occasionally, to make up for my travel, we will hold an additional  class. This will tentatively take place at 10.20am in SEC 217 (note SEC not ARC!) on occasional Mondays. I apologize for this inconvenience.

Office hour:   9.50 Fridays or by arrangement.  Tel x 9033

Assessment:   Assessment will be made on the basis of weekly assignments, a take-home mid-term and a take-home final exam. I want to encourage an interactive class and will take this into account when grading!

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  We will make a selected sortie through the following list. Asterisks indicate areas that will be high priority

  • Second Quantization. ``Free'' systems-- the building block of the quasiparticle concept. *
  • Phonons and photons, Fermi and Bose fluids; spin-systems (x-y) model. Interactions.*
  • Green's Functions and Feynman diagrams .*
  • Finite temperature Green Functions.  *
  • Application of Finite temperature  Feynman Diagrams to (i) electron-phonon problem * ; (ii) transport theory.
  • Functional Integral Approach (if time permits).
  • Broken Symmetry and Superconductivity.  *

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         Schedule (Currently in evolution - please check back for final schedule) :


Make-up class
Mon:  10.20pm 

Weds 12:00
ARC 212

Fri 1:40pm
ARC 212

1. Sept 4-8

No Class No Class

2 Sept 11-15

Fields overview.
Einsteins phonon: the Simple Harmonic Oscillator
Collective Quantum Fields: 1 and 3D

3 Sept 18-Sept 22
Collective Quantum Fields: continuum and thermodynamic limit. Conserved Particles:
Canonical Commutation Rules
4 Sept 25-Sept 29
Particles in thermal equilibrium. Examples of 2nd Quantization
Jordan Wigner Transformation, 1D Ferromagnet.
Examples of 2nd Quantization
1 D Antiferromagnet. Hubbard Model

5 Oct 2-  7

Examples of 2nd Quantization
Free Bosons, Fermions
Greens functions:
Interaction rep/Driven Oscillator

6. Oct 9- 13
Greens Functions:
Free Fermions and Bosons
Gell-Mann Low Theorem
No Class 

7. Oct 16 - 20

No Class  No Class

8. Oct 23- 27

Landau Fermi
Liquid Theory
Feynman diagrams:
Heuristic derivation
Feynman Rules
Linked Cluster Theorem

9.  Oct 30- Nov 3
Electron in scattering potential. Hartree Fock.
More Mr Feynman
No Class

10.  Nov 6- 10

11.  Nov 13 - 17

Response functions. Lindhard Function.

12.  Nov 20 -Nov 24
RPA Approach.
Large N electron gas
Note: Friday Schedule. Meet 1.40pm. Finite T
Imaginary time
Greens functions
No class- Thanksgiving

13.  Nov 27 - Dec 1
Finite T
Feynman Rules and examples
 Finite T
Feynman Rules:
Electron in a disordered potential
 Finite T:
Electron Phonon
interaction: self energy; Migdal's theorem.

14.  Dec 4 -  Dec 8

Superconductivity   BCS Theory I No Class
15.  Dec 11 - Dec 15
Superconductivity   BCS Theory II
Meissner Effect

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