Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Reading group on quantum many-body theory

Today I am starting a weekly reading group on the basics of quantum many-body theory, mostly for postgraduate students. This is to partly fill the gap from the fact that we do not have graduate courses in Australia. We are going to read a chapter each week from the book, Advanced Solid State Physics, by Philip Phillips. I chose this for its clarity, brevity, and treatment of modern topics.

This initiative was inspired by a highly successful group that a colleague, Andrew Doherty, ran on quantum field theory last.
Previously, I was involved in groups that looked at Fulde's book, Electronic correlations in molecules and solids, and a review by Shaik and Hiberty on valence bond theory (now superseeded by their excellent book). I found both immensely valuable.

What is the value of such ventures?
I find understanding increases greatly when I read something and then talk about it. Furthermore, rather than getting stuck at points of derivations talking to someone else can remove the logjam.
The weekly meeting also provides accountability and discipline to keep reading.


  1. I'd be interested, but the only copy I can find is $600 new, or $125 used.

  2. I will be attending this reading group during future meetings. Yesterday was still ARC season.

    Rick, I can send you chaps 1-3, which were forwarded to me by another participant.