Renormalization Group Methods in Statistical Field Theory

Fall 2006 lectures at the Feza Gürsey Institute by Michael Hinczewski

General information


Problem sets

Problem set solutions

Quiz solutions




Michael Hinczewski homepage

Feza Gürsey Institute


26/01/2007: Final course grades posted.

15/01/2007: Final exam posted.

11/01/2007: Problem set #10 and #11 solutions posted (others coming soon).

23/12/2006: Problem set #11 posted.

Course Overview

Renormalization group (RG) theory has been one of the great modern innovations in physics, a crucial component of both condensed matter and high energy theories. In these lectures, we describe RG methods for statistical physics systems, starting with classical models of phase transitions and critical phenomena, and ending with quantum theories of interacting fermions. Throughout the lectures, we emphasize a field-theoretic approach to the material, but no prior knowledge of field theory is assumed: we introduce concepts like path integrals, functional derivatives, Feynman diagrams, and fermion coherent states as they are needed. Once we have developed the basic tools, we will see that the RG approach is widely applicable to a variety of problems: as an example, we show how RG provides an elegant derivation of the Landau Fermi-liquid theory of metals, and the BCS instability that leads to superconductivity.

For a detailed list of topics and course references, see the syllabus.


The course will be accessible to advanced undergraduate or graduate students. A familiarity with undergraduate statistical mechanics (i.e. partition functions, thermodynamic potentials) and quantum mechanics are the only prerequisites.


The first lecture will be on Friday, September 22, 2006, 14:00-17:00, at the Feza Gürsey Institute (for directions, click here, or e-mail me at The lectures will be once a week on Fridays, though the day may be changed if there is a major conflict with student schedules.


Weekly problem sets will be the most important component of the course grade (50%). The students are strongly encouraged to work together on the homework, but everyone should write up the solutions individually. There will also be 15-minute weekly quizzes (25%), and a final exam (25%). I will be available for office hours, and if there is student interest, for recitations.

Contact information

If you have any questions, please e-mail me at, or call my office at 216-308-9432.