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Spin Glasses and Complexity$
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Daniel L. Stein and Charles M. Newman

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691147338

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691147338.001.0001

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Why Spin Glasses?

Why Spin Glasses?

(p.xix) (p.1) Introduction: Why Spin Glasses?
Spin Glasses and Complexity

Daniel L. Stein

Charles M. Newman

Princeton University Press

Spin glasses are disordered magnetic materials, and it is hard to find a less promising candidate to serve as a focal point of complexity studies, much less as the object of thousands of investigations. On first inspection, they don't seem particularly exciting. Although they're a type of magnet, they're not very good at being magnetic. Metallic spin glasses are unremarkable conductors, and insulating spin glasses are fairly useless as practical insulators. This introductory chapter provides an overview of why spin glasses might be of interest to the reader if they are not a physicist but are interested in any of a variety of other problems outside physics, or more generally in the field of complexity itself. It explores those features of spin glasses that have attracted, in turn, condensed matter and statistical physicists, complexity scientists, and mathematicians and applied mathematicians of various sorts.

Keywords:   spin glasses, complexity, magnetic materials, physics, mathematicians

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