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The Oxford Solid State Basics [Paperback]

Steven H. Simon
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 24.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

16 Aug 2013 0199680779 978-0199680771
The study of solids is one of the richest, most exciting, and most successful branches of physics. While the subject of solid state physics is often viewed as dry and tedious this new book presents the topic instead as an exciting exposition of fundamental principles and great intellectual breakthroughs. Beginning with a discussion of how the study of heat capacity of solids ushered in the quantum revolution, the author presents the key ideas of the field while emphasizing the deep underlying concepts.

The book begins with a discussion of the Einstein/Debye model of specific heat, and the Drude/Sommerfeld theories of electrons in solids, which can all be understood without reference to any underlying crystal structure. The failures of these theories force a more serious investigation of microscopics. Many of the key ideas about waves in solids are then introduced using one dimensional models in order to convey concepts without getting bogged down with details. Only then does the book turn to consider real materials.

Chemical bonding is introduced and then atoms can be bonded together to crystal structures and reciprocal space results. Diffraction experiments, as the central application of these ideas, are discussed in great detail. From there, the connection is made to electron wave diffraction in solids and how it results in electronic band structure. The natural culmination of this thread is the triumph of semiconductor physics and devices.

The final section of the book considers magnetism in order to discuss a range of deeper concepts. The failures of band theory due to electron interaction, spontaneous magnetic orders, and mean field theories are presented well. Finally, the book gives a brief exposition of the Hubbard model that undergraduates can understand.

The book presents all of this material in a clear fashion, dense with explanatory or just plain entertaining footnotes. This may be the best introductory book for learning solid state physics. It is certainly the most fun to read.

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The Oxford Solid State Basics + Atomic Physics (Oxford Master Series in Physics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (16 Aug 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199680779
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199680771
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 19 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,020 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author


Steven H. Simon, Professor of Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics, Department of Physics, University of Oxford, and Fellow of Somerville College, Oxford.

Professor Steven Simon earned a BSc degree from Brown in Physics & Mathematics in 1989 and a PhD in Theoretical Physics from Harvard in 1995. Following a two-year post-doc at MIT, he joined Bell Labs, where he was a director of research for nine years. He is currently Professor of Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics in the Department of Physics at the University of Oxford, and a Fellow of Somerville College, Oxford.

His research is in the area of condensed matter physics and communication, including subjects ranging from microwave propagation to high temperature superconductivity. He is interested in quantum effects and how they are manifested in phases of matter. He has recently been studying phases of matter known as "topological phases" that are invariant under smooth deformations of space-time. He is also interested in whether such phases of matter can be used for quantum information processing and quantum computation.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Alex C
Format:Paperback
I've read this book for my undergrad solid state physics course. The required text was Kittel, but Kittel seems better suited as a reference for someone who already knows quite a bit of solid state physics. For an introductory text I have yet to read a better book than The Oxford Solid State Basics.

Here are some of the reasons why this is the best introductory book to solid state physics:

1. It's readable, concise and ultimately fun. The sense of humor sprinkled here and there plus the annotations that add a bit of commentary, historical context and trivia are wonderful nuggets to share. Learning from this book is actually enjoyable!

2. The author has organized and synthesized all these electron theories for metals in a very understandable package. Sommerfeld, Drude, Debye, Einstein, all have a lot of similarities and some books call these by different names, adding to the confusion. Simon clearly explains these, and what's more, highlights their relationships and shortcomings, an excellent topic to cover that very few other books do. Ultimately though, it's the delivery of these topics that make it special. As I said before, his writing is by far the most readable.

3. Finally someone took the time to sort out all these Fermi "blanks" that pervade solid state physics. It seems so simple now.

4. He helps the reader not get caught up in mathematical rigor and he directs one to appendices in the interest of maintaining the course and gain a conceptual understanding first. This is much appreciated since most solid state physics books seem to rely on forcing the reader to look through a lot of math to draw the conclusions that Simon has so graciously provided for free.

5. The definitions are magnificent. Simple, clear and to the point.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A really good textbook! 16 Mar 2014
By La Peps
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book on recommendation of my lecturer for a 3rd Year Condensed Matter physics course. It's very well laid out, and the descriptions of the phenomena are conversational which really adds something; I tried the Hook and Hall solid state physics and was much less of a fan of this. It covers most of the material I needed for my course at the right level(with the exception of some content on transport theory) and I suppose the only downside is that it could contain more detail on some phenomena - but these are really only quibbles as they're outside of the scope of the book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Introductory Text For Solid State Physics 24 Feb 2014
By J. Carrera - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I tried to prepare for my first solid state physics course using Kittel and Ashcroft/Mermin. They are both OK books but their method of teaching the subject is not very intuitive. I found myself lost between the huge gaps in their derivations. Simon talks you through each section; it reads very much like a lecture. After reading this book, the other two books made a lot more sense. I highly suggest reading this book first, though. I had so many misunderstandings from the other two books that I had to unlearn a lot of things. The best part is that Simon actually tells you chapters in the other books to read further if you want more than an introduction to the specific topic at hand. I wanted to give this book 4.5 stars but Amazon has quantized the stars to whole integers. The reason I wanted to take off a half star is because of the jumps in derivations. Unfortunately, in upper division physics, almost all texts do this, some more than others. While I wish he would work out some example problems and not make giant leaps in derivations, it wasn't worth a whole point deduction. Hands down best introductory Solid State Physics textbook.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Introductory Solid State 22 Feb 2014
By Alejandro Ruiz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a great introductory level solid state book. I really appreciate the humor and the way the content is presented as in a story book. Definitely not your typical boring textbook. I've recommended it to my student and they all appreciated its crystal clear explanations. It is not too heavy in math but the physics is flawless. An amazing resource I will recommend for a Solid State Course.
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative and Abbreviated 20 Mar 2014
By A. M. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Nice book, clear explanations that cover a huge deal of subjects in a different manner than most classic text books in condensed matter.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book 6 Feb 2014
By Berk Diler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love the sense of humor in this book. It is supplementary, if you are not already taking a class it is difficult to follow, but it summarizes the ideas perfectly.
0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Great Godlike 6 Sep 2013
By YXVINSYX - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Well at least I think it is not bad and we can have a try if permitted and necessary. If needed, why not have a try?
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