Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Aim of the Course

The aim of the course is two-fold. First, we shall discuss topics of interest for both condensed matter and atomic physics, focussing on the effects of quantum statistics, interactions, and correlations in many-particle systems. Our second goal will be to provide a gentle introduction to the methods of quantized fields and their applications in many-body physics. We shall try to emphasize the physical and visualizable aspects of the subject. While the course is intended for students with a wide range of interests, many examples will be drawn from condensed matter physics.


Statistical Mechanics and Quantum Mechanics, introductory level courses, such as 8.044 (Statistical Physics I), 8.08 (Statistical Physics II), and 8.04 (Quantum Physics I).

Course Topics

  • Bose Condensates (Quasiparticles, Collective Modes, Superfluidity, Vortices)
  • Fermi Gases and Liquids, Collective Excitations
  • Cooper Pairing (BCS Theory, Off-diagonal Long-range Order, Superconductivity)
  • Atom Interacting with an Optical Field
  • Lamb Shift, Casimir Effect
  • Dicke Superradiance
  • Quantum Transport and Wave Scattering in Disordered Media, Localization
  • Tunneling and Instantons
  • Macroscopic Quantum Systems, Coupling to a Thermal Bath
  • Spin-boson Model, Tunneling and Localization
  • Kondo Effect
  • Spin Dynamics and Transport in Gases and Solids
  • Cold Atoms in Optical Lattices
  • Quantum Theory of Photodetection and Electric Noise

Recommended Text

Stone, Michael. The Physics of Quantum Fields. Springer, 2000.

Problem Sets

Weekly, 13 problem sets in total, due the first session of the week, in class (at the beginning of the lecture).

Term Paper

A list of term paper topics will be provided and discussed in class.


Problem Sets 60%
Term Paper 40%