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Fundamentals of Condensed Matter and Crystalline Physics


Welcome to the author's own interim textbook webpage.  Your comments, questions and other feedback are welcome at:


Ivan Smalyukh of University of Colorado recently offered a review of the textbook in the May 2013 issue of Physics Today that might be of interest.

Moreton Moore of Royal Holloway University of London has also offered a review of the textbook in  Crystallography Reviews.


Fundamentals of Condensed Matter and Crystalline Physics

available August 2012 through Cambridge University Press or


This undergraduate-level textbook is designed to provide students with an orientation to the broad field of Condensed Matter Physics (and traditional Solid State Physics) by emphasizing major foundational principles (e.g., structure, scattering, symmetry, self-similarity, scaling) that form a body of collective common knowledge which beginners in the field should understand.  With this introduction, undergraduate students should be comfortable with much of the terminology and concepts that they are likely to encounter in the research literature.


Unlike most all other texts on the subject of Condensed Matter Physics, this textbook was designed specifically for an undergraduate reader.  It is written in a relaxed, engaging style and incorporates numerous figures and illustrations to aid in reader comprehension.  A previous course in thermodynamics would be beneficial, but not altogether necessary and only a sophomore  level understanding of quantum mechanics, as is obtained in an introductory modern physics course, is needed.


During the eight years that I have taught Solid State Physics, I have been steadily augmenting the material found in Kittel's Introduction to Solid State Physics textbook with what I deem to be key themes of Condensed Matter Physics n the hopes of offering my students a broader perspective of condensed materials than that typically offered in a traditional (crystalline) solid state physics course.  As there is no single textbook that provides this broad coverage at an undergraduate level, I have had to splice together subject material from multiple sources with that in Kittel to create the one semester, hybridized course that I envision.


On my most recent sabbatical, I took the opportunity to develop all of the course topics (both traditional, crystalline solid state and more modern, often non-crystalline condensed matter physics) into a working document that would function as a course textbook.  The result is a textbook that develops both traditional solid state physics alongside condensed matter physics in a balanced and seamless fashion and emphasizes the larger common significance of structures, dynamics, and phase transitions in materials.


I believe a textbook like this is long overdue.  I suspect there are many other departments like ours at Creighton that are similarly restricted in the number of elective courses they can sponsor for their undergraduate students and who might, given the similarity or overlap between solid state physics and condensed matter physics, be interested in combining these into a single offering - if only they had a textbook suited to the task.


Below is a link to a growing list of errors that folks have kindly brought to my attention. Thanks to all!

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