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This course covers the concepts and physical pictures behind various phenomena that appear in interacting quantum many-body systems. Key ideas/techniques to be covered include broken symmetry, effective field theories, functional integral methods, and quantum phase transition theory.

A rough syllabus is:

  • Second quantization; path integrals in quantum mechanics
  • Interacting bosons - superfluidity
  • Broken symmetry and its consequences
  • Low dimensional quantum magnetism


Quantum Physics II (8.05), Statistical Physics II (8.08), Relativity (8.033) or Classical Mechanics II (8.21), Physics of Solids I (8.231)


There will typically be one homework every week which will be due on the same day of the following week. Late homework is strongly discouraged!!


There will be no final exam - instead there will be a short in-class presentation on a topic of general interest to the material in the course. Specific recommendations for presentation topics will be provided later.


No single textbook will be used. What follows is a list of books that I find useful. When appropriate, lecture notes or references to review articles/research papers will be provided.

Amazon logo Negele, John W., and Henri Orland. Quantum Many-Particle Systems. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, October 1998. ISBN: 9780738200521.

Amazon logo Stone, Michael. The Physics of Quantum Fields. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag, February 1999. ISBN: 9780387989099.

Amazon logo Auerbach, Assa. Interacting Electrons and Quantum Magnetism. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag, 1994. ISBN: 9780387942865.

Amazon logo Wen, Xiao-Gang. Quantum Field Theory Of Many-body Systems: From The Origin Of Sound To An Origin Of Light And Electrons. Oxford, UK; New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2004. ISBN: 9780198530947.

Amazon logo Sachdev, Subir. Quantum Phase Transitions. Cambridge, UK; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2000. ISBN: 9780521582544.

Amazon logo Anderson, P. W. Basic Notions of Condensed Matter Physics. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, November 27, 1997. ISBN: 9780201328301.

Amazon logo Fradkin, Eduardo. Field Theories of Condensed Matter Systems. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, August 26, 1998. ISBN: 9780201328592.

Amazon logo Polyakov, A. M. Gauge Fields and Strings. New York, NY: Harwood Academic Publishers, Taylor & Francis Scientific, Technical and Medical, October 1, 1987. ISBN: 9783718603930.