Order parameters, broken symmetry, and topology

@article{Sethna1992OrderPB,
  title={Order parameters, broken symmetry, and topology},
  author={James P. Sethna},
  journal={arXiv: Condensed Matter},
  year={1992}
}
  • J. Sethna
  • Published 22 April 1992
  • Mathematics, Physics
  • arXiv: Condensed Matter
We introduce the theoretical framework we use to study the bewildering variety of phases in condensed--matter physics. We emphasize the importance of the breaking of symmetries, and develop the idea of an order parameter through several examples. We discuss elementary excitations and the topological theory of defects. 
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Aspects of the theory of homotopy groups are described in a mathematical style closer to that of condensed matter physics than that of topology. The aim is to make more readily accessible to