Cover

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Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-x

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Preface

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pp. xi-xviii

This book began as a series of lectures given by one of us (DLS) at the 2008 Complex Systems Summer School in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Those lectures were aimed at a broad audience, comprising physicists, mathematicians, biologists, computer scientists...

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Introduction: Why Spin Glasses?

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pp. 1-14

Spin glasses are disordered magnetic materials, and it’s hard to find a less promising candidate to serve as a focal point of complexity studies, much less as the object of thousands of investigations. On first inspection, they don’t seem particularly...

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1. Order, Symmetry, and the Organization of Matter

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pp. 15-42

Quarks, strings, and black holes receive much of the attention that the popular press devotes to physics, and for good reason: they’re exciting, exotic, and almost mystical in their appeal. They’re also comfortably removed from the everyday...

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2. Glasses and Quenched Disorder

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pp. 43-50

When we discussed in section 1.6 the discontinuous behavior of thermodynamic functions at a phase transition, we referred (somewhat obliquely) to “carefully controlled conditions.” To proceed to the next part of our story, we need to explain just...

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3. Magnetic Systems

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pp. 51-62

Up to this point our discussion has centered on some basic concepts of condensed matter physics as viewed through the illustrative lenses of familiar systems: liquids, crystals, and glasses. We now turn to another important class of materials: magnetic...

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4. Spin Glasses: General Features

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pp. 63-89

As noted in the introduction, few things seem less likely at first glance to spark interest than the materials we now call spin glasses. Nevertheless, their rise was stunning. What one might call “sightings” of spin glasses, although they weren’t realized as...

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5. The Infinite-Range Spin Glass

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pp. 90-111

We saw in section 1.5 how, given a Hamiltonian and using the tools of statistical mechanics, one can—in principle—completely describe a system’s thermodynamic behavior at any temperature or external field. In practice, however, this is extremely difficult...

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6. Applications to Other Fields

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pp. 112-174

We’ve already encountered more than a few surprises yielded up by spin glass research. But perhaps none is so great as its unanticipated impact on an impressive array of problems from other fields. Mathematical and conceptual tools developed for...

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7. Short-Range Spin Glasses: Some Basic Questions

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pp. 175-217

In this chapter we consider realistic spin glass models, in particular the Edwards-Anderson (EA) model introduced in section 4.5. Both the EA and the Sherrington-Kirkpatrick (SK) models are idealizations of the complicated spatial structure of spin-spin...

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8. Are Spin Glasses Complex Systems?

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pp. 218-238

We conclude our primer with a brief consideration of how spin glass science fits into the larger area of complexity studies. As putative complex systems, spin glasses are unusual in that they fall neatly into standard, well-defined disciplinary categories: condensed...

Notes

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pp. 239-264

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Glossary

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pp. 265-284

Few readers will be conversant with all of the subjects treated in this book, so we’ve provided a glossary of some of the technical terms. The definitions below are informal and very brief; more detailed expositions can be found in the text. The section in which a term is discussed...

Bibliography

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pp. 285-308

Index

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pp. 309-317