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An Introduction to Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking
by Aron J. Beekman, Louk Rademaker, Jasper van Wezel
|As Contributors:||Aron Beekman · Louk Rademaker · Jasper van Wezel|
|Submitted by:||Beekman, Aron|
|Submitted to:||SciPost Physics Lecture Notes|
|Subject area:||Condensed Matter Physics - Theory|
Perhaps the most important aspect of symmetry in physics is the idea that a state does not need to have the same symmetries as the theory that describes it. This phenomenon is known as spontaneous symmetry breaking. In these lecture notes, starting from a careful definition of symmetry in physics, we introduce symmetry breaking and its consequences. Emphasis is placed on the physics of singular limits, showing the reality of symmetry breaking even in small-sized systems. Topics covered include Nambu-Goldstone modes, quantum corrections, phase transitions, topological defects and gauge fields. We provide many examples from both high energy and condensed matter physics. These notes are suitable for graduate students.