Advanced Topics in Theoretical Physics (Spring 2024)

It is a pleasure to announce this fall's Delta ITP Course Advanced Topics in Theoretical Physics.
The course is divided into three 5-week modules, which will cover Geometry and topology in the AdS/CFT correspondence, Impurity physics and the renormalization group, and Tensor Network Methods in Quantum Information Science. As always, the emphasis is on methods that can be used across all fields of physics.

Each module consists of four lectures and exercise sessions. Lectures will take place on Mondays
at 11:15 - 13:00, followed by a study/exercise session from 13:45 - end. At the end of each module, there is an exam. All exams are pass/fail, and you must pass all three to receive credit (6EC) for the course.

Teaching is on location in person, with the location of this course rotating between the three institutes. The first module is in Amsterdam. Directions to the institutes can be found here: Amsterdam, Utrecht, Leiden. Students who do not have an OV-card from the Dutch government can have their travel costs reimbursed from D-ITP. Please contact the local coordinator (below) for details.

Please register here before the course begins, even if you do not take the course for credit.
We cannot process your grade or send important notices if you do not register.

  • MODULE 1:

    Title: Geometry and topology in the AdS/CFT correspondence
    David Berenstein (Amsterdam)
    Lectures and exercises: Feb 5, 12, 19, 26
    Exam: March 4

    Location: Science Park G3.10 (Amsterdam)

    Abstract: Starting with the idea of gravitational holography, students will be progressively introduced to examples that realize this idea. These are some special conformal field theories that are dual to gravitational theories in higher dimensions. The basic principles of how to calculate relevant observables in Conformal Field Theory and gravity in AdS spaces will be developed. The students will then study how the dictionary between these two different kinds of observables is established. These ideas will be applied to the relation between thermal states and black holes, as well as between Wilson loops and branes (topological defects) in the AdS geometry. The students will also be introduced to the concept of entanglement entropy in field theory and the evaluation of entanglement entropy using minimal surfaces in the dual gravity theory.

    Students will be able to discuss classic results in the AdS/CFT (Anti-de-Sitter/Conformal Field Theory) correspondence.
    Students will be able to understand the basic dictionary between correlators in CFT and observables in AdS gravity.
    Students will be able to apply these ideas in geometries with different topologies (e.g. black holes, topological defects in gravity)

    Recommended prior knowledge:
    Quantum field theory at a Master’s level.
    General relativity at the level of the book by Carroll (Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity)

  • MODULE 2:

    Title: Impurity physics and the renormalization group
    Andrew Mitchell (Utrecht)
    Lectures and exercises: March 11, 18, 25, April 8 (April 1 holiday)
    Exam: April 15

    Location: TBA

    Abstract: Quantum impurity models are the simplest nontrivial examples of problems in which strong electron correlations produce non-perturbative many-body effects. Such models are understood and analyzed in terms of the renormalization group, which is a fundamental theoretical framework applied widely throughout physics in many fields. Aside from their fundamental importance, impurity models also describe directly the scattering from actual magnetic impurities in metals (hence the name) but also quantum nanoelectronics devices that have become prominent with the rise of quantum technologies. Quantum impurity models also provide the fundamental description of correlated materials through so-called dynamical mean field theory. In this module, we will explore the physics of the Kondo and related models, and introduce Anderson’s perturbative scaling technique as well as Wilson’s numerical RG method. The course will feature a mini-project assignment for some hands-on experience.

  • MODULE 3:

    Title: Tensor Network Methods in Quantum Information Science
    Jordi Tura (Leiden)
    Lectures and exercises: April 22, May 6, 13, 27 (April 29 is UvA holiday, May 20 holiday)
    Exam: June 3

    Location: TBA

    Abstract: TBA


    Dr. Lars Fritz
    Institute for Theoretical Physics
    Utrecht University
    Princetonplein 5
    3584 CC Utrecht
    tel: +31 30 253 3880

    Prof. Koenraad Schalm
    Instituut-Lorentz for Theoretical Physics
    Leiden University
    Niels Bohrweg 2
    2335 CA Leiden

    Dr. Clelia de Mulatier
    Institute for Theoretical Physics
    University of Amsterdam
    Science Park 904
    1098 XH Amsterdam