PGS Series: In a Nutshell

The In a Nutshell series may sound like a cute branding idea, but as Ingrid Gnerlich, Senior Editor in Physical Sciences explains below, the books selected for this series are intended to be definitive textbooks for courses in physical science. That said, they are also terrific points of departure for anyone interested in these areas of study.




In a Nutshell is a new series of modern, concise, and well-priced textbooks on core subjects in the physical sciences. Meant for advanced undergraduates and graduate students, this high-profile series includes A. Zee’s Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell, 2nd edition, Gerald Mahan’s Quantum Mechanics in a Nutshell, Elias Kiritsis’ String Theory in a Nutshell, Carlos A. Bertulani’s Nuclear Physics in a Nutshell, and Dan Maoz’s Astrophysics in a Nutshell.

Released this month, our newest title in the series is Gerald Mahan’s Condensed Matter in a Nutshell. This excellent book focuses on an exciting, fast-moving area of physics that, over the past couple decades, has seen many new experimental advances, one of which was the focus of this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics (the discovery of the remarkable two-dimensional material, graphene). Groundbreaking research in this field – from studies of the origin of high-temperature superconductivity to the properties and applications of graphene – has challenged accepted beliefs and raised deep questions about the emergent behavior of condensed matter systems.

Mahan’s premier textbook covers all the foundational topics of the field, as well the latest experimental advances, such as high-temperature superconductivity, the quantum Hall effect, graphene, nanotubes, localization, Hubbard models, density functional theory, phonon focusing, and Kapitza resistance. Full of illuminating examples and problems, this is an excellent introduction to this hot area of physics and a great resource for a two-semester graduate course in condensed matter and material physics.

As Sidney Nagel put it, “This book is a great place to start learning about the vast array of phenomena that nature is able to produce around us in the form of materials. It hardly fits in a nutshell – it covers a great many topics, both traditional and current, in condensed matter physics. It is more akin to Hamlet’s assertion that he could be bounded in a nutshell, and count himself a king of infinite space. The prodigious knowledge of the author shines through in the choice of topics.”

Upcoming books in this exceptional textbook series include Christopher Tully’s Elementary Particle Physics in a Nutshell, Anupam Garg’s Electromagnetism in a Nutshell, and A. Zee’s Gravity in a Nutshell. Stay tuned for future In a Nutshell titles!


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