Course data
Course name: The Physics of Disordered Systems
Neptun ID: BMETE15MF53
Responsible teacher: Gergely Zaránd
Programme: Courses for Physicist MSc students
Course data sheet: BMETE15MF53
Requirements, Informations

Physics of Disordered Systems

(updated: 2023.09.03)


Gergely Zaránd & Márton Kormos


Time and location: 

Time: Wednesdays, 8:15-9:45;  Location: F3M1


Teams connection:

"Disordered systems 2023",  63oguf2 


Tentative schedule: Disordered_systems_schedule_2023.pdf

Lectures will be given in English, but questions can also be asked in Hungarian, and the language of the exam/problem set can also be chosen to be Hungarian. 


Goal: Disorder is present everywhere around us, and it leads to fascinating phenomena. This course is supposed to cover some of these subjects, including Anderson's localization theory, Coulomb glasses and spin glasses, hysteresis, percolation, Griffith phases, just to name a few.  


Prerequisites:  Quantum mechanics, intermediate level solid state physics, statistical physics. 


Subjects to be covered: 

Structural disorder

Structural glasses, percolation,  surface roughening,  amorphous and granular materials, polimers, fractals.

Disordered magnetic systems

Disordered ferromagnets, hysteresis, memory effects,  Preisach model. Domain wall motion and Barkhausen noise. Griffith phase.

Frustrated spin systems and spin glasses: phenomenology, Sherrington-Kirkpatrick model, TAP equations. Replicas, and replica symmetry breaking. 

Disordered quantum systems 

Disordered semiconductors and impurity bands. Locaization transition and Anderson's theory. The scaling theory of localization. Coulomb glass. 

Quantum glasses, the Bose glass. Fisher scaling and the strong disorder fixed point, random quantum circuits, quantum-Hall effect, many-body localization (MBL)



Students can get a mark in three different ways: 

  • by passing an oral exam,
  • by solving problem sets,
  • or by writing (in English or in Hungarian) a term paper (i. e., a 10-15 pages written summary based upon some research paper, related to the course).

For the last two options (term paper / problem set), you must pass the "substantial presence test", i.e., cannot miss more than 3 lectures. Of course, to pass an oral exam, no substantial presence at the lectures is requested. Just come and try!


Subjects of oreal exam:  TO BE SPECIFIED


Problem set

2019 problem set: problems2019.pdf

2023 problem set: TO COME


Term Papers: The term paper should be an approximately 15-20 (standard latex preprint) pages presentation on the subject. In the first half of it, you should review basic knowledge, and put the paper in contex,  introduce basic notions.  Here you should just include material that you learned at class. In the second part of your work, you should present what you understood from the paper(s) assigned. You do not need to understand everything but all what you present should be clear and thought through. You can also consult some of the references given in the papers, but do not try to read everything...  You can write the term paper in Hungarian or in English.

If you decide to write a term paper, you can pick one of the following papers: 


Lecture notes:  Will be posted on Teams


Some literature and supplemental material (incomplete):