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The Physics of MatterHan Jung-hoon

『The Physics of Matter』

Author : Han Jung-hoon
Publisher : Gimmyoung
Publication date : September 25, 2020
Number of Pages : 300
Format : 148x215mm
ISBN : 9788934920106

Han Jung-hoon

Professor of the Department of Physics, Sungkyunkwan University. Main field of research focuses on the theories of quantum magnetism or quantum spin. He has remarkable achievements in Multiferroics theory, Skyrmion theory and Quantum spin transport theory. His publications include more than 80 academic research essays and a book Skyrmions in Condensed Matter (Springer, 2017).

An Outstanding Introduction to Condensed Matter Physics


How is mass created? Is light matter? Why are magnets magnetic? Why do some kinds of matter conduct electricity and some don’t? Can a two-dimensional or a one-dimensional world also have matter? What IS matter, anyway? The Physics of Matter illustrates, intuitively yet in minute detail, the extraordinary world of matter – graphene, superconductor, quantum hall matter and topological matter – that were discovered in the process of navigating the fundamental questions of physics.
It is not an easy task to explain to the layperson how quantum physics, which is the foundation theory of modern physics, deals with the matter that makes up the entire universe. The author pulls it off with superb storytelling and creative analogies. The third chapter, for example, is titled “Pauli Hotel” where matter is likened to a hotel where electrons may check in to stay. At the Pauli Hotel there are blueprints (quantum mechanics) and administrative principles (exclusion principle). Guests (electrons) can move between floors (energy levels for each electron) where one must drop down a hole in the floor in order to go down. The drop causes various sounds (light) such as a crash or a plop. By reading through intriguing analogies, you find yourself naturally getting accustomed to the ideas surrounding quantum mechanics, spectroscopy and electromagnetics.

Another noteworthy accomplishment of this book is that it gives an introductory explanation on condensed matter physics, the biggest branch of modern physics, at the comprehension level of the general public. “Condensed matter” is, literally, matter that has a higher level of interaction between particles. Liquid and solid matter belong in this category. It is the most common form of matter found in our world including semiconductors, metals, magnets and superconductors. Approximately a quarter of the members of the Korean Physical Society and around a third of the members of the American Physical Society dedicate their lives to the study of condensed matter physics. With such a prevalent influence, one would expect at least one book that explains the basics of “the physics of matter” at the level of the layperson. Not only are there none in South Korea, it is difficult to find one even in nations where science enjoys a bigger public following. A popular book on physics must cover a wide range of principles throughout the fields of quantum mechanics, electromagnetics and statistical mechanics. There is a limit to explaining the theories of physics in everyday language without using mathematical symbols and theorems.

Dr. Han Jung-hoon, theoretical physicist with thirty years of research experience under his belt, plus a plethora of public talks and introductory level essays (propelled by the Nobel Prize in Physics awarded to his advisor David Thouless in 2016), pulls it off in this remarkable book. His descriptions are intuitive, precise and detailed. You will find yourself immersed in the huge waves of modern physics just by flipping through the pages.



People often talk about the mystery of the heart. For me, the nature of matter is much more fascinating, and at the same time, intricate.  It would be especially difficult to clarify to the layperson how quantum physics, which is the foundation theory of modern physics, deals with matter that makes up the entire universe. The author manages to pull off this gargantuan task with surprising skill. This book deals with everything from the hierarchical atomic models that most readers will be familiar with, down to the topological matter that we can’t even be certain belongs to matter or not. His intuitive yet precise narrative will provide introductory answers for readers curious to know not only about matter itself, but also how they can benefit from this information. Highly recommended!


Yi Sang-wook
Division of Philosophy, Hanyang University

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