Basic Training Spring 2011
Cornell has a very eclectic group of condensed matter theorists: studying topics ranging from cold atoms to the statistical mechanics of biological networks. This course is a venue for sharing that breadth: to give condensed matter theory students broad exposure to the tools/techniques/topics of the various research groups. The title “Basic Training in Condensed Matter Physics” reflects the importance our theory group place on the course. Some topics are indeed “basic” and approachable by first year graduate students in physics or related disciplines. Others are “advanced topics” which more senior students will get more out of. We encourage anyone from any department to attend: theorists and experimentalists.
If you wish to take the course for credit, you must complete two of the four modules (including all of the homework). We strongly feel that the best way to get the most out of the course is to take it for credit. All students who are in a condensed matter theory group should take the course for credit. Auditors are welcome to attend only a single module.
Topics for Spring 2011
Practical Density Functional Theory
Jan 26  Feb 16  Tomas Arias

This module will be a practical introduction into writing and using density functional theory code.
Grader: Ravishankar Sundararaman
Semiclassical Methods: Berry’s Phase, Instantons and Short Detours through the Complex Plane
Feb 18  Mar 18  Erich Mueller

Sometimes quantum phenomena are best understood starting from a classical perspective. Largely working within a path integral framework, we will develop the tools for forming a semiclassical understanding of the quantum world. Along the way we will encounter important physical concepts, such as geometric phases, which are standard parts of the condensed matter lexicon. I promise you a fun ride, and maybe even some crazy mathematics.
Required background: Quantum Mechanics at the level of P6572.
Sometimes quantum phenomena are best understood starting from a classical perspective. Largely working within a path integral framework, we will develop the tools for forming a semiclassical understanding of the quantum world. Along the way we will encounter important physical concepts, such as geometric phases, which are standard parts of the condensed matter lexicon. I promise you a fun ride, and maybe even some crazy mathematics.
Lecture Notes:
GinzburgLandau Theory of Superconductivity
Mar 30  Apr 20  Chris Henley

Much of superconductivity can be understood by a phenomonological model developed in the 1950s by Ginzburg and Landau.
Continuum Quantum Monte Carlo Methods in Chemistry and Physics
Apr 22  May 6  Cyrus Umrigar

This module will introduce the ideas of quantum Monte Carlo, as applied both in Chemistry and Physics.