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Phase Transitions and Renormalization Group
and Landau's theory of critical phenomena. We will show that quasi-gaussian or mean-field approximations cannot describe correctly phase transitions in three space dimensions. We will assign this difficulty to the coupling of very different physical length scales, even though the systems we will
consider have only local, that is, short range interactions. To analyze the unusual situation, a new concept is required: the renormalization group, whose fixed points allow understanding the universality of physical properties at large distance, beyond mean-field theory. In the continuum limit, critical phenomena can be described by quantum field theories. In this framework, the renormalization group is directly related to the renormalization process, that is, the necessity to cancel the
infinities that arise in straightforward formulations of the theory. We thus discuss the renormalization group in the context of various relevant field theories. This leads to proofs of universality and to efficient tools for calculating universal quantities in a perturbative framework. Finally, we
construct a general functional renormalization group, which can be used when perturbative methods are inadequate. -
465 pages; ISBN 9780191527746