



Courses of the Masters Program Theoretical Physics 2008/2009
Period 3 and 4 (week 6  25)
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.
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, currentdriven 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.
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 (TolmanOppenheimer 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 (RobertsonWalker 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.
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 liquidgas 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.
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 eink.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 welldefined 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, mediuminduced effective interactions, Brownian dynamics. We will develop the theory to interpret, describe and predict physical properties of these systems. A short initial crashcourse on classical statistical mechanics (thermodynamic potentials, Legendre transforms, ensembles, partition functions, etc.) will be extended to describe interacting manybody systems (virial expansion, distribution functions, OrnsteinZernike theory, thermodynamic perturbation theory, van der Waals theory, critical exponents, hardsphere crystallisation, and density functional theory). Further extensions to describe ionic liquids and colloidal suspensions will be discussed (DebyeHueckel theory, screening, PoissonBoltzmann theory, DLVO theory, effective manybody 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.
The course covers the basic concepts of modern string theory. This includes covariant and lightcone quantisation of bosonic and fermionic strings, geometry and topology of string worldsheets, vertex operators and string scattering amplitudes, worldsheet and spacetime supersymmetries, elements of conformal field theory, GreenSchwarz superstrings, strings in curved backgrounds, lowenergy effective actions, Dbrane physics.
In this course we investigate the structure and manifestations of (nonabelian) 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 nonabelian gauge theories. Then we discuss their quantization: gaugefixing, 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 oneloop level. This is followed by an indepth 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.
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. 