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I am a PhD student in mathematics who knows little more about physics than what one learns in high school. For my research on tilings of space and aperiodic order, every now and then I have to skim a physics research article on solid state physics. And it would be good for me to know more about the basic principles and ideas of this field.

Since I lack advanced physics training I cannot just pick up any old book on solid state physics and start reading it. I am looking for a recommendation of maybe a sequence of books that I should read which culminates in a decent book on the subject. I am particularly interested in crystals, quasicrystals and aperiodic order.

Please don't get me wrong, I don't expect it to be easy to catch up and I don't expect to be handed a leaflet that covers everything I should know. I just don't want to spend my time reading lots of stuff I don't really need in the end for understanding the subject.


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marked as duplicate by David Z Feb 14 '13 at 23:22

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  • $\begingroup$ It seems to me that you can start with any book about Crystallography, there you will find how Group theory is applied, parallel to that you will need to read something about classical mechanics. $\endgroup$ – TMS Feb 11 '13 at 19:23
  • $\begingroup$ @TMS: Thanks for your comment. The books on crystallography I checked out cover not much general solid state physics it seems. At least if one compares it with a book like the one by Harrison. Also, did you really mean classical mechanics or rather quantum mechanics? Because this is one of the prerequisites stated in the forward of Harrison's book while classical mechanics he doesn't mention. $\endgroup$ – Gregor Feb 12 '13 at 12:42
  • $\begingroup$ You may noticed I said "start with", you really can't understand QM if you are not familiar with classical mechanics, and a considerable amount of matter properties can be explained within it and elementary crystal structure, however, it's not enough, you will need later to get familiar with QM and Electromagnetism as a second step. $\endgroup$ – TMS Feb 12 '13 at 13:02
  • $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate: physics.stackexchange.com/q/16766/2451 $\endgroup$ – Qmechanic Feb 12 '13 at 14:19

I find that the first part of the textbook by Marder provides both a good introductory text and a lot of references for more in-depth information on topics related to crystals and beyond:



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