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Condensed Matter Physics: A Very Short Introduction [#722]
Condensed Matter Physics: A Very Short Introduction [#722]

Condensed Matter Physics: A Very Short Introduction [#722]

Ross McKenzie
  • Provides a modern introduction to a major field of physics that underpins silicon chips and liquid crystals, and explores deep questions about the nature and behaviour of matter
  • Focuses on introducing the fundamental concepts of condensed matter physics and uses concrete examples to illustrate these
  • Highlights the role of emergence (the whole is greater than the sum of the parts) in condensed matter physics
  • Shows how condensed matter physics links to other fields of physics and to other sciences

There are many more states of matter than just solid, liquid, and gas. Examples include liquid crystal, magnet, glass, and superconductor. New states are continually, and unexpectedly, being discovered. Some states, such as superconductor, can act like Schrödinger's cat and exhibit the weirdness normally associated with the quantum theory of atoms, photons, and electrons. Condensed matter physics seeks to understand how states of matter and their distinct physical properties emerge from the atoms of which a material is composed.
A system of many interacting parts can have properties that the parts do not have. Water is wet, but a single water molecule is not. Your brain is conscious, but a single neuron is not. Such emergent phenomena are central to condensed matter physics and also occur in many fields, from biology to computer science to sociology, leading to rich intellectual connections. When do quantitative differences become qualitative differences? Can simple models describe rich and complex behaviour? What is the relationship between the particular and the universal? How is the abstract related to the concrete? Condensed matter physics is all about these big questions.
The materials in silicon chips, liquid crystal displays, and magnetic computer memories, may have transformed society, but understanding them has transformed how we think about complex systems.


List of illustrations

1:What is condensed matter physics?
2:A multitude of states of matter
3:Symmetry matters
4:The order of things
5:Adventures in flatland
6:The critical point
7:Quantum matter
8:Topology matters
10:The endless frontier
Further reading
Appendix: List of Nobel Prizes in Condensed Matter Physics

About the author: 

Ross H. McKenzie is an Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. His research in condensed matter physics focuses on using quantum theory to understand complex materials, ranging from organic superconductors to fluorescent proteins. He has given lectures to schools and to the public on this topic, as well as running a blog, Condensed Concepts, which was featured in an issue of Physics World.

Product details

ISBN : 9780198845423

Ross McKenzie
144 Pages
111 x 174 mm
Pub date
May 2023
Very Short Introductions
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Condensed Matter Physics: A Very Short Introduction [#722]

Condensed Matter Physics: A Very Short Introduction [#722]

Condensed Matter Physics: A Very Short Introduction [#722]