Physics 361 is an Introduction to Solid State Physics. Its goal is to convey an understanding of the condensed state of matter that a PhD in physics should have.
I'll assume that you have a working knowledge of classical and quantum mechanics at an undergraduate level. I'll assume that you've had a course covering basic thermodynamics and statistical mechanics at an undergraduate level. This course does not assume a prior course in solld state or condensed matter physics, since many of you have not had one. Nevertheless, the course is not taught at an undergraduate level. It will assume greater sophistication than an undergraduate course does, and it will aim for greater depth.
Monday and Wednesday 9:00--10:20 KPTC 105
Course web site
The course web site is the University's Chalk site. Please consult this site often to stay abreast of the course.
Professor: Tom Witten, GCIS building room E227, email t-witten at uchicago.edu
Grader: Jian Tang, email tangjian at uchicago.edu, Office: HEP 209F, Phone: 2-8097
Main text book
Solid State Physics, Author:Neil W. Ashcroft, N. David Mermin, ISBN: 0030839939, Publisher: saunders, required. This is the pre-eminent textbook of conventional condensed-matter physics, from 1976. It is clear, insightful, unified, and comprehensive. If you own only one book on condensed matter physics, this should probably be the one. On the other hand, it does not treat advanced topics that require a field-theory background. It lacks much of the current aspects of condensed matter physics, and it doesn't treat non-crystalline matter.
Other text books
Principles of Condensed Matter Physics, Paul M. Chaikin and Thomas C. Lubensky, (Cambridge, 1995). This book is more broad in compass, including many other forms of organization beyond the crystalline state, such as amorphous solids and liquid crystals. It is also more sophisticated, requiring field theory methods for much of its arguments.
Introduction to Solid State Physics, 7th Edition, Charles Kittel ISBN: 0-471-11181-3 688 Pages (Wiley 1995). This is the dominant undergraduate text.
notes and other handouts
I anticipate that some subjects will have to be covered by notes that I've written or gotten from elsewhere. You will find these by looking under "course documents" on this site.
- I aim to assign problems each week. These will be due in class one week later. The problem sets will appear on this site under "Assignments" in the Chalk menu bar. Solutions will be posted in due course on this site, too.
Turning in your work: It is due at the beginning class. If you want to submit by email, ask Jian.
- There will a midterm exam during classtime, after we cover non-electronic properties. This will probably be in late October. The exam will consist mostly of problems similar to those assigned.
There will be a two-hour final exam, also consisting mostly of problems at the scheduled time during Finals Week.
Sometimes we all have to miss a work assignment or do less than our best. I try to take account of this in grading by ignoring the worst components of each student's grade. Late work will usually be corrected, but may not be given credit.
The problem sets will be weighted most strongly in your grade, the final a little less, and the midterm a little less than that.
T. Witten, September 29, 2009