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The course "Advanced Topics in Theoretical Physics" is part of the Delta ITP, which is a joint initiative between the Universities of Leiden (UL), Utrecht (UU), and Amsterdam (UvA). This spring's Delta ITP Course Advanced Topics in Theoretical Physics it is built around the general theme of Topological Methods in Theoretical Physics. The lectures are given by professors from these three universities. This Spring Course will be held in Leiden.

Event details of Spring 2014 Topological methods in theoretical physics
Start date 3 February 2014
End date 26 May 2014
Time 11:00

The course is intended for PhD and Master students who have learned the basis of Quantum Field Theory.  It consists of three modules. For each one there are four lectures (2 hrs each) and four exercise sessions (2 hrs each). At the end of each module there is an exam. PhD students are not obliged to do the exams, which are meant for Master students who intend to use this course as part of their Master Program.


Module 1: Topological Phase Transitions - Vincenzo Vitelli (Leiden)
Module 2: Conformal Field Theory and Wess-Zumino-Witten Models part II - Jan de Boer, Miranda Cheng (Amsterdam)
Module 3: Models for Topological Insulators - Lars Fritz (Utrecht)


Lectures will take place on Mondays at  11:15 - 13:00, followed by a study/exercise session 13:45- end (with the exception of module 2, see below). The location of this semester's course will be Leiden University, Huygens Laboratory, Room HL 207. The Huygens Laboratory is right next to the Oort building, where the Institute Lorentz for Theoretical Physics resides. 

Please note that to get the full 6EC credit, students must take the exam for each of the three modules. The final grade is the average of the three exams.

Module 1: Topological Phase Transitions - Vincenzo Vitelli (Leiden)

Lectures: 3-10-17-24 Feb 

Location: Huygens Laboratory, Room HL 207

EXAM: 3 Mar

This module will address the physics of topological defects in various context ranging from vortexes in liquid helium to dislocations in crystals. As an example of a topological phase transition, we will study in detail the Kosterlitz Thouless transition in the XY model using renormalization group methods. If time allows we will move on to discuss topological solitons in non-linear field theories.

The course will be based upon my own lectures. Additional material will be made available by the lecturer during the course.

Module 2: Conformal Field Theory and Wess-Zumino-Witten Models part II - Jan de  Boer, Miranda Cheng (Amsterdam)

March 10: 11:45 - 13:30 AND 14:15-END
March 17:  NO LECTURE
March 24: 11:15-13:00 AND 13:45- END (Lecture by J.S. Caux: "A lightning intro to CFT")
March 31: 11:45 - 13:30 AND 14:15-END (Lecture by M. Cheng: "Advanced CFT")

Location: Huygens Laboratory, Room HL 207

EXAM: 7 Apr

After a quick revision of basic notions of CFT, this course will introduce some more advanced concepts including boundary conformal theory, current algebras, Wess-Zumino-Witten models and coset models, and discuss their applications in high-energy and condensed matter physics.

Module 3: Models for Topological Insulators - Lars Fritz (Utrecht)

Lectures: 14 & 28 Apr; 12 & 19 May

Location: Huygens Laboratory, Room HL 207

EXAM: 26 May

Topological insulators have been one of the most active fields in condensed matter research throughout the last decade. Characteristic of this type of insulators is that while the bulk is insulating the surface hosts metallic states which are protected against the effects of disorder.  In this module we will discuss a number of realizations of topological insulators ranging from one to three dimensions in toy model systems as well as more realistic experimental settings. We will also discuss the origin of the special protection of the surface metals with respect to disorder.


Dr. Koenraad Schalm | Kschalm [at]

Institute-lorentz for Theoretical Physics | Leiden University | Niels Bohrweg 2 | 2335 CA Leiden