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Courses of the Masters Program Theoretical Physics 2008/2009

Period 3 and 4 (week 6 - 25)

For period 1 and 2 (week 37 - 4) click here

In due course you can find the schedule of the courses on the website of the department. For more information, please check the study guide.

You can find the examination dates here.
NS-TP431M Introduction to Black Hole Physics
NS-TP429M Spintronics
NS-AP431M General Relativity in Astrophysics
NS-EP438M Modelling and simulation
NS-TP453M Soft condensed matter theory
NS-TP526M String theory
NS-TP529M Field Theory in Particle Physics
NS-TP502M Theoretical Physics Colloquium

 NS-TP431M: Introduction to Black Hole Physics
period 3 - 4
credits 7,5 ECTS
language English
prerequisite Some basics of mathematical physics and General Relativity; at the last parts of the course we assume some basic understanding of quantum mechanics and quantum field theory
lecturer Prof.dr. G. 't Hooft, tel.: 253 1863, e-mail: g.thooft@uu.nl, MG 412, http://www.phys.uu.nl/~thooft/
schedule Thursday, 9h00 - 10h45 (lecture), Tuesday, 9h00 - 12h45 (tutorial)
instruction 10 x 2 lectures + home exercises
Subjects discussed: the Schwarzschild solution and the use of different coordinate grids; horizons and Penrose diagrams; Black holes formed by the implosion of matter; charged and rotating black holes. Extreme black holes. Why the formation of a black hole can sometimes not be avoided. The theory of trapped surfaces; gravitational radiation caused by coalescing black holes. 
If time permits: black holes in particle physics, Hawking radiation, Black hole thermodynamics, and black holes in higher dimensions.
 NS-TP429M: Spintronics
literature Lecture notes and research articles
period 3 - 4
credits 7,5 ECTS
language English
prerequisite Quantummechanics 2 is required. Basic knowledge of solid state physics and quantum many-body theory (SFT) is recommended
lecturer dr. R.A. Duine, tel.: 253 2289, e-mail: r.a.duine@uu.nl, MG 310, http://www.phys.uu.nl/~duine/
instruction lectures and tutorials
examination homework

Over the past two decades spintronics, roughly speaking defined as the research area concerned with utilizing the electronic spin degree of freedom in applications, has evolved into a very active field that combines material physics with nonequilibrium quantum field theory - and "everything in between". This course gives an overview of the theoretical models and methods used in spintronics and their application to various spintronics phenomena, most of which are currently very active subareas of research. Topics include path integrals for spins, giant magnetoresistance in spin valves, spin currents and spin transfer torques, current-driven magnetic domain wall motion, spin pumping, and the spin Hall effect. If time permits, the application of concepts from spintronics to nonequilibrium superconductivity and bilayer exciton condensation are discussed. The course starts with an introduction to quantum magnetism and electronic transport which serves as a basis for understanding more advanced topics.
 NS-AP431M: General Relativity in Astrophysics
 literature Book Relativistic Astrophysics and Cosmology - A primer, P. Hoyng, Springer, Astronomy and Astrophysics Library, 2006
Recommended: Lecture notes and exercises will be made available on the internet.
 credits 7,5 ECTS
 language english
 prerequisite Special relativity, elementary electrodynamics and thermal physics
 lecturers dr. P. Hoyng, 030-2535726 (p.hoyng@sron.nl), prof.dr. J. Heise, 030-2535727 (j.heise@sron.nl)
 instruction lecture, tutorial
 examination There will be a preliminary exam early during the course, and a final exam at the end

The course starts with an introduction into general relativity (geometry of Riemann surfaces, the field equations, the Schwarzschild metric, perihelium precession and deflection of light in the Schwarzschild metric, gravitational lenses). Next come compact objects (Tolman-Oppenheimer equations, mass limits, a simple neutron star model, black holes, the horizon concept). After a brief treatment of gravitational waves, the remainder of the course is devoted to cosmology (Robertson-Walker metric, the standard model of the hot Big Bang, synthesis of light elements, inflation, dark matter, vacuum energy, the Cosmic Microwave Background).
The course is largely theoretical in outline, but key observational facts are also treated.
Many practical excercises are treated to develop the ability of the student  to solve elementary problems independently (e.g. how much do you weigh on the surface of a neutron star?). This ability is tested in the written examination.  

 NS-EP438M: Modelling and Simulation
 literature M.E.J. Newman and G.T. Barkema, Monte Carlo methods in statistical  physics,
Oxford University Press (recommended)
 period 3 - 4
 credits 7.5 ECTS
 language English
 prerequisite elementary programming skills and some statistical physics
 lecturer prof. dr. G.T. Barkema, tel.: 253 2954, e-mail: G.T.Barkema@uu.nl, MG 302
 instruction lectures (2hr per week), sometimes replaced by lab sessions
 course aim at the end, the student should be able to write elementary simulation programs
for these models, and analyse results
 examination Part 1: Ising model simulation. Programming, performing measurements and writing a report.
Part 2: Simulation of self-avoiding walks. Programming, performing measurements and writing a report.
Part 3: An optional computer simulation project, to be finished with a short report.
Grading based on the reports.
re-examination: n.a.

An important aspect of physics research is modeling: complex physical systems are simplified through a sequence of controlled approximations to a model that lends itself for computations, either analytic or by computer. In this course, the origin of a number of widely used models will be discussed. Magnetic systems as well as the liquid-gas transition is modelled by the Ising model, polymers are often modelled by random walks, liquid flow is often modelled by lattice Boltzmann gases. Insight into these models can be obtained through a number of ways, one of which is computer simulation. During the course, simulation methods for these models will be discussed in the lectures as well as in computer lab sessions.
 NS-TP453M: Soft condensed matter theory
credits 7.5 ECTS
language English
lecturer dr. R. van Roij, bereikbaarheid: tel. 253 7579, e-mail: R.vanRoij@uu.nl, MG 314, http://www.phys.uu.nl/~roij/
instruction lectures and tutorials
examination Part of the examination is in the form of handing in homework

Soft matter consists of mesoscopic objects such as colloidal particles, polymer chains, or macromolecules, which are often suspended in a liquid medium, often with addional ions. Traditional examples of such systems are blood, mud, hairgel, yoghurt, or paint, but  more recent examples include liquid crystals, photonic bandgap materials, DNA in the living cell, and e-ink.The traditional picture of these systems a "dirty chemical soup" is no longer true due to spectacular advances in chemical synthesis and microscopy, resulting in clean and well-defined model systems that can are being studied in great detail experimentally. In this course we will discuss the phenomenology of this systems from a theoretical perspective, with a focus on e.g. phase transitions, structure, spontaneous ordering, medium-induced effective interactions, Brownian dynamics. We will develop the theory to interpret, describe and predict physical properties of these systems.
A short initial crash-course on classical statistical mechanics (thermodynamic potentials, Legendre transforms, ensembles, partition functions, etc.) will be extended to describe interacting many-body systems (virial expansion, distribution functions, Ornstein-Zernike theory, thermodynamic perturbation theory, van der Waals theory,  critical exponents, hard-sphere crystallisation, and density functional theory).
Further extensions to describe ionic liquids and colloidal suspensions will be discussed (Debye-Hueckel theory, screening, Poisson-Boltzmann theory, DLVO theory, effective many-body interactions, depletion effect due added polymers, charge renormalization). Also liquid crystals (nematic, smectic, columnar phases, Onsager theory), polymers (random walks, theta collapse, flexibility, persistence length,scaling concepts), interfacial phenomena (adsorption, wetting, surface tension, capillary waves,  density profiles, droplets), and (hydro-)dynamic effects (Brownian motion, Langevin equation, dynamic density functional theory) will be covered.
 NS-TP526M: String Theory
literature Book: "Superstring Theory", M. B. Green, J. Schwarz and E. Witten (Cambridge 1987) Cambridge Monographs in Mathematical Physics Vol 1: Introduction, ISBN 0521 35752-7
Lecture notes "Introduction to string theory", G. 't Hooft.
Boek: "Lectures on String Theory", D. Lüst and S. Theisen, Lecture Notes in Physics, Springer-Verlag  
 period 3 - 4
 credits 7,5 ECTS
 language English
 prerequisite general relativity, quantum field theory
 lecturer dr. S. Vandoren, MG 411, tel.: 253 5902, e-mail: S.J.G.Vandoren@uu.nl
 instruction lecture, tutorial
 examination written exam

The course covers the basic concepts of modern string theory. This includes covariant and light-cone quantisation of bosonic and fermionic strings, geometry and topology of string world-sheets, vertex operators and string scattering amplitudes, world-sheet and space-time supersymmetries, elements of conformal field theory, Green-Schwarz superstrings, strings in curved backgrounds, low-energy effective actions, D-brane physics.

 NS-TP529M: Field Theory in Particle Physics
 literature Drafts of the book "Field Theory in Partice Physics, Vol 2", by B. de Wit, E. Laenen, J. Smith, will be handed out
 period 3 - 4
 credits 7,5 ECTS
 language English
 lecturer Prof.dr. B. de Wit, B.deWit@uu.nl, tel.: 253 2965, MG 409 and Prof.dr. E. Laenen, E.L.M.P.Laenen@uu.nl, tel.: 253 3055, MG 415

In this course we investigate the structure and manifestations of (non-abelian) gauge theories. The Standard Model is an example, but we will often take a more general view. We begin with a general discussion of global and local symmetries, and the construction of non-abelian gauge theories. Then we discuss their quantization: gauge-fixing, ghosts and Feynman rules. The enables a treatment of renormalization, the property of asymptotic freedom, and the decoupling of heavy degrees of freedom. We then discuss some applications for Quantum Chromodynamics at the one-loop level. This is followed by an in-depth treatment of spontaneous symmetry breaking for both global and local symmetries, and the Higgs mechanism. The Standard Model is introduced, and some of its phenomenology is discussed. When time permits, the course will be concluded by a discussion of chiral anomalies, and some outlook beyond the Standard Model.

 NS-TP502M: Theoretical Physics Colloquium 
 credits 2,86 ECTS
 lecturers invited speakers
prof. dr. C. Morais Smith, tel.: 253 3062, e-mail: C.deMorais@phys.uu.nl, MG 306, dr. S. Vandoren,  tel.: 253  5902, e-mail: S.J.G.Vandoren@phys.uu.nl, MG 411
 schedule period 1-4
Wednesday, 16h00-17h00, BBL 415
One bi-weekly 2-hr meeting
first colloquium: 17 September 2008
2008: 17 September, 1, 15 & 29 October, 12 & 26 November, 10 December
2009: 14 & 28 January, 11 & 25 February, 11 & 25 March, 8 & 22 April, 6 & 20 May, 3 & 17 June
 language English
 examination participation

During the speakers' seminar, which is organized biweekly at the Institute for Theoretical Physics, international experts will present contemporary research. The colloquium has to be attended at least 18 times in order to pass. Even though the colloquium speakers are well aware that master students make up a considerable fraction of their audience, the level of the colloquium is often unavoidably high. In order to optimise the student's benefit and understanding of the colloquia, a preparatory presentation by an ITP staff member will (often) be organised in which background information, history of the subject, or other relevant material will be informally discussed with the students. Attending this meeting, which will be scheduled at 15.00h just prior to the colloquium in room MG 401, is highly recommended but not compulsory. More details will be announced by email in due time.