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This Fall's Delta ITP Course Advanced Topics in Theoretical Physics aimed at advanced Master’s students, PhD and postdoctoral researchers and has the theme 'From critical phenomena to black holes'.

Event details of Fall 2020 From critical phenomena to black holes
Start date 7 September 2020
End date 14 December 2020
Time 11:00

The course consists of three 5-week modules. Each module consists of four lectures and exercise sessions, as well as an exam. Lectures will take place on Monday's at 11:15-13:00, followed by a study/exercise session 13:45- end. 

At the end of eacht module there is an exam. All exams will be graded with a pass or fail. You need to pass all three exams to receive credit for the course.

The course will be fully online. All students will receive a link to follow the online lectures. 

Registration is CLOSED

Module 1:  Lars Fritz (UU)

Renormalization group and critical phenomena

Lectures: Sept, 7, 14, 21, 28 

Exam: Oct 5

In this module we discuss critical phenomena as encountered at and in the vicinity of (quantum) phase transitions. The language to discuss these phase transitions is the renormalization group. I will introduce it in the condensed matter spirit of the Wilsonian renormalization group but highlight the connections with the high-energy formulation. This course will discuss concepts such as renormalization group transformation, flow, fixed points, and their associated properties. Prerequisites for this course are statistical physics, Landau theory, and classical and/or quantum field theory.

Module 2:  Koenraad Schalm (UL) 

The AdS/CFT Correspondence and Applications 

Lectures: Oct 12, 19, 26, Nov 2 

Exam: Nov 9

The anti-de Sitter/Conformal Field theory correspondence provides a unique novel perspective on critical phenomena at second order quantum phase transitions in systems with spatial dimensions d>1. The first half of these lectures will provide technical background to apply the so called "holographic" techniques of the correspondence. The second half discusses the application to quantum phase transitions in condensed matter: how spontaneous symmetry breaking in a quantum critical system is similar and different to the standard case, the notion of semi-local quantum liquids and their connection to non-Fermi liquids and strange metals.

These lectures will be based on selections from:

•  J. Zaanen, Y.Liu, Y-W.Sun, K. Schalm, Holographic duality in condensed matter physics, Cambridge University Press.

Additional references are:

• J. Erdmenger, Introduction to gauge gravity duality, Chapters 1,2,4,5,6.

• S.A. Hartnoll, Lectures on holographic methods for condensed matter physics, Class. Quant. Grav. 26, 224002 (2009).

• N. Iqbal, H. Liu and M. Mezei, Lectures on holographic non-Fermi liquids and quantum phase transitions 

Module 3: Alejandra Castro (UvA)

Advanced Topics in General Relativity

Lectures: Nov 16, 23, 30, Dec 7 

Exam: Dec 14

Abstract: In this course, we will cover advanced topics in general relativity that are important for our modern understanding of the holographic principle and theoretical aspects of black holes. We will discuss surface charges in gravitation, black hole thermodynamics, and holographic aspects of lower-dimensional gravity.  I will assume students have a basic knowledge of general relativity, at the level of Sean Carroll's “Spacetime and Geometry” book, and a reasonable background on quantum field theory.


Dr. Lars Fritz, 
Institute for Theoretical Physics, 
Utrecht University
email: l.fritz [AT]

Prof. Koenraad Schalm
, Instituut-Lorentz for Theoretical Physics, 
Leiden University
, email: kschalm [AT]

Dr. Wouter Waalewijn
, Institute for Theoretical Physics, 
University of Amsterdam
email: w.j.waalewijn [AT]


Mariëlle Hilkens, Institute for Theoretical Physics, Utrecht University
e-mail: m.e.t.hilkens [AT]