Physics 123B (Winter 2012)

Physics 123B, Condensed Matter Physics, Winter 2012


Prof. Matthew Fisher 

Office: 6105 Broida Hall 
Phone: 893-3247 
Lectures: Tuesday, Thursday 9:30-10:45 am, HSSB 3202 
Office Hours: Wed 3:30-5:00pm, Thur 3:00-4:00pm


TA: Mauricio Romo 

Office: 6228 Broida Hall, 893-8689
Office Hours: Tues 11:00am-12:00pm, Fri 2:00-3:00pm


Textbook:  The only required textbook is Solid State Physics by Ashcroft and Mermin.  This is a fantastic book.  Not easy, though.  I will be trying to cover several more modern topics which are not in Ashcroft and Mermin.  I will then try to point out some relevant books if/when they exist.

Homework:  Roughly 5-7 homeworks throughout the quarter, available on the course web site.  Homework solutions also posted online.

Exams:  Probably a single take home final.

Grades:  Homeworks 70% and Exam 30%

  • Homeworks will be available on this web site in pdf format, as will solutions
  • In addition to office hours, I would be happy to try and answer questions right after class. And we can always schedule a particular time. 
  • Feedback on any aspect of the course greatly appreciated.                       



Condensed Matter Physics is an exceedingly rich and fascinating subject.  Among all fields of physics it is far and away the largest, and arguably the most vibrant and exciting.  Even in 2 quarters one could not hope to touch on all aspects of the field.  I have decided to focus predominantly on the quantum mechanics of electrons in crystalline materials.

While this is an old field, traditionally called “Solid state physics”, there has been a tremendous amount of exciting progress over the past couple of decades, most of which has not (yet) made it into the textbooks.  I will try to touch upon some of these new developments.  Below, a rough syllabus.

Syllabus for Physics 123B


Graphene in Wikipedia