Jean-Sébastien Caux

Statistical Physics and Condensed Matter Theory 1 (September-October 2017)

Teachers: Jean-Sébastien Caux and Jasper van Wezel

Time and location of the lectures:

Tuesdays 11:00-15:00, Science Park C0.110 and Fridays 13:00-17:00, Science Park C0.05

Final exam:

Monday 23 October 2017, 9:00-12:00, SP Tentamenzaal USC, Sporthal 2

Retake exam:

rescheduled to Monday 8 January 2018, 16:00-19:00, SP D1.113

Link to the YouTube playlist of the lectures.

You can also have a look at previous editions in 2016, 2015 and 2014.


Extra question sessions

Moos and Sergio have reserved Thursdays 11:00-12:00 for extra catch-up sessions. These will take place in room SP A1.11 (except on 14 Sept. in D1.162).

Course objectives

This course will provide a thorough grounding in fundamental aspects of modern theoretical statistical and condensed matter physics. The lectures will cover all necessary formalism, but also emphasize the applicability and usefulness of the methods in the context of contemporary experimental and theoretical research issues.


Starting from basic notions of statistical mechanics and quantum theory, the students will be progressively introduced to the formalisms of operatorial quantization, path integrals and functional field integration. The wide applicability of these methods in condensed matter and statistical physics will be emphasized by addressing topics such as (among others) low-dimensional interacting fermionic and spin systems, spin-charge separation and the Luttinger liquid, the Kondo effect, broken symmetry and Bose-Einstein condensation, superfluidity and superconductivity.


Class notes are available here. These are broadly based on the book Condensed Matter Field Theory by B. D. Simons and A. Altland. This book has been selected due to its rather successful attempt to "provide a bridge between formal manipulations and research-oriented thinking", which fits perfectly well in a modern masters-level program aimed at forming a new generation of researchers and thinkers.

Recommended additional reading

Plan of the course

Please view this as an indication only:  since my coverage of the material will differ somewhat from the book, please check and rely on your class notes to revise the more specific contents we discussed.

Suggested exercises

Past exams