Two New Books by Harvard Physics Faculty

March 21, 2018
covers of the two books

Sean A. Hartnoll, Andrew Lucas and Subir Sachdev, Holographic Quantum Matter, MIT 2018. [link to the publisher's site]

This book, written by pioneers in the field, offers a comprehensive overview of holographic methods in quantum matter. It covers influential developments in theoretical physics, making the key concepts accessible to researchers and students in both high energy and condensed matter physics. The book provides a unique combination of theoretical and historical context, technical results, extensive references to the literature, and exercises. It will give readers the ability to understand the important problems in the field, both those that have been solved and those that remain unsolved, and will enable them to engage directly with the current literature.

The book describes a particular interface between condensed matter physics, gravitational physics, and string and quantum field theory made possible by holographic duality. The chapters cover such topics as the essential workings of the holographic correspondence; strongly interacting quantum matter at a fixed commensurate density; compressible quantum matter with a variable density; transport in quantum matter; the holographic description of symmetry broken phases; and the relevance of the topics covered to experimental challenges in specific quantum materials. Holographic Quantum Matter promises to be the definitive presentation of this material.

Andrew Strominger, Lectures on the Infrared Structure of Gravity and Gauge Theory, Princeton, 2018. [link to the publisher's site]

The book presents an accessible, graduate-level synthesis of a frontier research area in theoretical physics. Based on a popular Harvard University course taught by Prof. Strominger, it gives a concise introduction to recent discoveries concerning the structure of gravity and gauge theory at very long distances. These discoveries unite three disparate but well-developed subjects in physics.

The first subject is the soft theorems, which were found by particle physicists in the 1950s to control the behavior of low-energy photons and are essential for all collider predictions. The second subject is asymptotic symmetries, found by general relativists in the 1960s to provide a surprising, infinite number of exact relations between distinct physical phenomena. The third subject is the memory effect, the measurement of which is sought in upcoming gravitational wave observations. An exploration of the physical and mathematical equivalence of these three subjects has provided a powerful new perspective on old results and led to a plethora of new results, involving symmetries of QED, gluon scattering amplitudes, flat-space holography in quantum gravity, black hole information, and beyond.

Uniquely connective and cutting-edge, Lectures on the Infrared Structure of Gravity and Gauge Theory takes students and scholars to the forefront of new developments in the discipline.

  • Materials are presented in a "lecture notes" style with problem sets included
  • Concise and accessible pedagogical approach
  • Topics include soft theorems, the memory effect, asymptotic symmetries with applications to QED, Yang-Mills theory, quantum gravity, and black holes