Effective Field Theories
in Condensed Matter Physics
May 6-10, 2009
The Outing Lodge, Stillwater, Minnesota
Sponsored by:



About   Talks & material   Participants   Registration   Directions/maps

All presented talks are now online. Meeting photos can be found here.

The last 50 years have seen several dramatic transformations in our understanding of condensed matter physics, as well as a remarkable fusion of ideas between condensed matter and high-energy physics. Amongst the milestones, one can pick out the development of Fermi liquid theory, the theory of superfluids and superconductors, of topological field theories involving fractional charge and fractional statistics, and theories of more complex systems such as glasses, soft matter, and biological systems. During this same period, the over-arching framework of effective field theory, often formulated in the framework of renormalisation and renormalisation group theory, has grown enormously in depth, sophistication, and influence, as have 'model Hamiltonians' which capture essential features of the physics.

It seems high time to assess all of this from a broader perspective, including a look at some of the philosophical and historical questions that may arise. We will be focussing on the themes of superfluids, superconductors, Fermi liquid theory and its failings, topological field theory and fractional charge and statistics, and the renormalisation group. Along with this we will look at questions about the general nature of effective field theories in condensed matter, and how one should look at this in the broader context provided by quantum field theory and statistical physics; this also raises interesting historical questions. However we expect that other issues will come up - indeed, a key feature of the 7 Pines meetings is the extensive time devoted to discussion sessions.