Recent developments have led to a good understanding of universality; why phase transitions in systems as diverse as magnets, fluids, liquid crystals, and superconductors can be brought under the same theoretical umbrella and well described by simple models. This work describes the physics underlying universality and then lays out the theoretical approaches now available for studying phase transitions. Traditional techniques, mean-field theory, series expansions, and the transfer matrix, are described; the Monte Carlo method is covered and two chapters are devoted to the renormalization group which led to a break-through in the field. The book should be useful as a textbook for a course in phase transitions, as an introduction for graduate students undertaking research in related fields and as an overview for scientists in other disciplines who work with phase transitions but who are not aware of the current tools in the armoury of the theoretical physicist.
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J. M. Yeomans is at St Hilda's College, Oxford.Review:
"Readers of Dr. Yeomans' book will be succinctly introduced to these 'mysteries' and more in less than 150 pages of text. They will be introduced to the main lines of research activity and the important papers in each. . . . novices will be provided with an up-to-date map of the field." --Contemporary Physics
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