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Syllabus for

Academic year
FFM500 - Modern physics 3
Owner: TTFYA
3,0 Credits (ECTS 4,5)
Grading: TH - Five, Four, Three, Not passed
Level: B

Teaching language: Swedish

Course module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 No Sp
0101 Written and oral assignments 3,0 c Grading: TH   3,0 c    

In programs



Professor  Henrik Johannesson


For single subject courses within Chalmers programmes the same eligibility requirements apply, as to the programme(s) that the course is part of.

Course specific prerequisites

Basic undergraduate courses in Physics and Mathematics, incl. 3rd year Quantum Physics.


In the language of modern theoretical physics, the laws of Nature have their origin in symmetries: the theories of physics are simply representations of the symmetries present in the interactions among particles and fields. But what really is a symmetry? How to describe it mathematically? And how can we use symmetries to solve a specific problem in physics, or to construct new and more powerful descriptions of Nature?

The purpose of the course is to provide some answers to these questions, and to give an overview of the notion of symmetry and its applications in modern physics. Examples from elementary particle physics, condensed matter physics, and the study of chaos and nonlinear phenomena are supplemented by an elementary introduction to the theory of continuous groups and representations.


"What is a symmetry?" Examples: lattices and (quasi) crystals. Introductory analytical mechanics. Hamiltonians in classical mechanics / quantum mechanics. Symmetry transformations. Continuous symmetries and Noether's theorem. Elementary introduction to Lie groups, algebras, and representation theory. Scale invariance. The renormalization group. Conformal invariance: from critical phenomena to string theory. Broken symmetries: DNA and time's arrow. Illustrations from particle physics & condensed matter / statistical physics.




Lecture notes, supplemented by review articles and excerpts from books. The group theory part of the course will be based on selected parts of H. F. Jones, "Groups, Representations and Physics" (IOP, 1998).


Home work problems.

Page manager Published: Mon 28 Nov 2016.