29::276 Special Topics in Quantum
Mechanics: Introduction to the Renormalization Group Method
Fall Semester 2009
Instructor: Prof. Yannick Meurice
- Office:514 VAN
- Web page:http://www-hep.physics.uiowa.edu/~meurice
- Lectures: 10:55AM - 12:10PM TTh Room 618 in the Van
- Office Hours: Monday and Tuesday 9 :00-10:30 AM.
Feel free to
schedule appointments at other times.
The Renormalization Group method is a major theoretical tool in particle and
condensed matter physics. Roughly speaking, It consists in replacing a
microscopic theory by a physically equivalent theory at a larger scale, putting a special
emphasis on the fixed points of this procedure. The method is very useful to understand
phase transitions and situations where an approximate conformal
symmetry is present (i. e. no scale is singled out).
The ideas of the Renormalization Group (RG) and scale invariance have
played a central role in physics over the last four decades. They are associated with the emergence of
key concepts such as universality, self-similarity, finite-size
scaling, asymptotic freedom, coupling unification and triviality bounds.
RG methods allowed the numerical treatment of difficult problems in
particle physics, many-body and few-body physics.The RG provides
a universal language spoken by scientists working in very
different areas. The class will provide an
elementary introduction to the basic RG concepts and discuss
applications in statistical mechanics, condensed matter,
particle physics and possibly other fields. The exact content will be
adjusted in order to meet the needs of the
students attending the class.
The course will have a numerical component and include readings of some recent literature.
Main textbook: J. Cardy, Scaling and Renormalization in
Statistical Physics, (Cambridge Lecture Notes in Physics) . Additional
illustrations will be chosen from A. Barabasi and E. Stanley, Fractal
Concepts in Surface Growth.
Reading assignments and/or problems set will be provided in
Examinations and Final Grade
The final grade will be calculated in the
following way: 50 points for the homework
and 50 percent for a final project.
Attendance at lectures is highly recommended but not required. You are
strongly encouraged to ask questions during the lectures.
There are no ``stupid questions''.
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instructor first. If the complaint is not resolved to the student's
satisfaction, the student should go to the course supervisor (if the
instructor is a teaching assistant) or to the Associate Chair–
Professor Paul Kleiber.
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remains unresolved, the
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Student Academic Handbook (http://www.clas.uiowa.edu/students/academic_handbook/).
You also have the right to expect a classroom environment that enables
you to learn, including modifications if you have a disability."
responsibilities to this class-and to your education as a whole-include
and participation. (Here an instructor could put specific information
on his/her or the department's attendance policy.) You are also
expected to be honest and honorable in your fulfillment of assignments
and in test-taking situations (the College's policy on plagiarism and
cheating is on-line in the College's Student Academic Handbook http://www.clas.uiowa.edu/students/academic_handbook/).
You have a responsibility to the rest of the class-and to the
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At the most basic level, this means that you will respect the other
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Students wishing to add or drop this course after the official deadline
must receive the approval of the Dean of the College of
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enrollments may be found at: