Thursday, March 1, 2012

Why is the theory of strongly correlated electrons so challenging?

The field is particularly demanding due to the need to assess, integrate and synthesize large amounts of information from a diverse range of experimental, theoretical, and computational studies that use a plethora of techniques to study a multitude of properties, models, and materials. This requires significant amounts of time and experience to evaluate and make appropriate judgement calls about the relative importance and probable validity of specific pieces of information. Inadequately informed judgements can lead to wasted time due to pursuing directions that ultimately turn out to be at best irrelevant and at worst wrong.

Furthermore, an intimate knowledge of both the chemical and physical properties of solids is a necessary ingredient for the development of realistic models of different classes of complex materials. A key judgement has to be made about how much detail is necessary.

Or, is the field a mine field?


  1. Isn't this a description more of scientific research than of strongly correlated electrons?

  2. No. That is some of my point. All science is hard and does require these skills to some extent. However, I am claiming that the parameter space is a lot larger in the theory of strongly correlated electrons. For example, I don't think success in computational chemistry is so dependent on interaction with experiment. (But, maybe it should be). I think experiments on high-Tc superconductors are more likely to be wrong than quantum optics experiments.

    I am not claiming that other fields are less interesting or challenging. Just, challenging in a different way.
    But, maybe I am just ethnocentric.