Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

M. Mezard, G. Parisi and coworkers have written about replica symmetry and its breaking in spin glasses, structural glasses, and hard computational problems.

I am just getting acquainted with this literature. Where are the best places to start understanding replica symmetry?

Can anyone here explain the concept?

share|cite|improve this question
Try having a look at "replica trick". This is the mathematical technique and has been used in also in neural networks, error-correcting codes or eigenvalue distribution of random matrices. Also the book "Statistical physics of spin glasses and information processing : an introduction." by Nishimori, Hidetoshi can be a good starting point. – DaniH Apr 5 '12 at 21:07
Thanks DaniH. I am reading Nishimori and will update with any progress I make. – jwco Apr 7 '12 at 16:17

A good starting point could be the excellent article "Spin Glass Theory for Pedestrian" by Tommaso Castellani and Andrea Cavagna, that provides a beautiful and clear introduction to the world of spin-glasses.

If you want a more complete and historically complete reference, you could also try "Spin Glass Theory and Beyond", written by Parisi, Mezard and Virasoro.

In both these references you can find a clear and complete explanation of the concept of replica symmetry, and its breaking in spin-glass-like systems.

share|cite|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.