Sunday, May 24, 2009
Undergraduates should (and can) learn Ginzburg-Landau theory!
Tomorrows lecture to my undergraduate class is on the Ginzburg-Landau theory of continuous phase transitions. This may seem a bit advanced in a second year (sophomore) undergraduate class. However, I think the notions of symmetry breaking and universality are so fundamental, and the mathematics is relatively simple, that the students should be exposed to it early. At the end of the lecture I mention the limitations of mean-field theory and the successes of scaling and the renormalisation group.