Advanced Condensed Matter Physics , Leonard M. Sander Cambridge U. Press, New York, 2009. $80.00 (274 pp.). ISBN 978-0-521-87290-4

The first problem any lecturer runs into when planning a graduate course in condensed-matter physics is finding a good textbook that covers both classical and modern topics at a sufficient level. Classics such as Neil Ashcroft and David Mermin’s * Solid State Physics * (Brooks Cole, 1976) lack many of the modern topics because the field has naturally matured in the past three decades. In *Advanced Condensed Matter Physics *, Leonard Sander sets out to fill that gap. An experienced researcher in several condensed-matter subfields, Sander based the book on his lecture notes for a course he taught at the University of Michigan.

Other authors have attempted to replace the classics. Sander’s offering is in direct competition with Michael Marder’s * Condensed Matter Physics * (Wiley-Interscience, 2000) and Paul Chaikin and Tom Lubensky’s *Principles of Condensed Matter Physics * (Cambridge University Press, 1995). Compared to those, Sander’s text is considerably shorter. It covers more or less the same topics as Marder’s, but not always in the same detail, and in particular with fewer illustrations and examples.

*Advanced Condensed Matter Physics * covers most of the appropriate topics for a graduate-level solid-state course, including crystals, surfaces, interacting and noninteracting electron gases, Bloch theory, dielectric properties, superfluidity, and superconductivity. Those standard topics receive a concise treatment. Sander’s text also addresses more modern subjects; it contains, for example, a thorough discussion of the integer and fractional quantum Hall effects. However, some modern mesoscopic-physics developments, such as conductance quantization, are not mentioned.

Although Sander has aimed his book at the graduate student, I find the entrance level rather high. For example, a student using the book will need to have substantial knowledge of quantum theory. I like the book’s approach of providing the physics background when it introduces new topics. But those introductions could have been more elaborate—or better yet, supplemented by more figures that could aid students who are new to such topics as Miller indices, elasticity theory, and reduced-zone schemes. The missing details and the often terse writing style also make the book less suitable for self-study. A successful course could certainly be based on this book, provided it is supplemented with pedagogic figures and explanations of some of the mathematical derivations. Another critique, though a minor one, is Sander’s use of cgs units. Although such units are customary in solid-state books, they should be replaced by SI units, which are used in elementary courses on electromagnetism and quantum mechanics.

Overall, the book presents the appropriate topics for a graduate-level course in condensed-matter physics. Lecturers should be aware, however, that they might need to prepare supplementary material.