NATO Advanced Study Institute

ESF Network

Topological Defects and the Non-Equilibrium Dynamics

of Symmetry Breaking Phase Transitions


Défauts Topologiques et Dynamique des Transitions de Phase avec

Brisure de Symétrie

February 16 - 26, 1999

Les Houches - 74310 France



Yuriy M. Bunkov and Henri Godfrin (CRTBT- CNRS, Grenoble, France.)


Scientific Committee:

A. Achúcarro (Bilbao), Yu. M. Bunkov (Grenoble), R. Durrer (Geneva), H. Godfrin (Grenoble), T.W.B. Kibble (London),

M. Krusius (Helsinki), A. Schakel (Berlin), G. Vitiello (Salerno), W. Zurek (Los Alamos).

In many different fields of physics topological defects formed at symmetry-breaking phase transitions play an important role. Topological defects appear in many condensed-matter systems at low temperature; examples include vortices in superfluid helium-4, a rich variety of defects in helium-3, quantised magnetic flux tubes in type-II superconductors, and disclination lines and other defects in liquid crystals. In cosmology, unified gauge theories of particle interactions suggest a sequence of phase transitions in the very early universe some of which may lead to defect formation. In astrophysics, defects play an important role in the dynamics of neutron stars. The main aim of this school is to bring together experimental and theoretical physicists and students from these different disciplines to exchange ideas about how to tackle these challenging problems.



Ana Achúcarro (Bilbao), Alexandr Andreev (Moscow), Daniel Boyanovsky (Pittsburgh), Yuriy M. Bunkov (Grenoble),

Brandon Carter (Paris), Ruth Durrer (Geneva), Henri Godfrin (Grenoble), Tom Kibble (London), Matti Krusius (Helsinki),

Anthony Leggett (Urbana), Douglas Osheroff (Stanford), George R. Pickett (Lancaster), James Sauls (Evanston),

Adriaan Schakel (Berlin), Tanmay Vachaspati (Cleveland), Eric Varoquaux (Paris), Giuseppe Vitiello (Salerno),

Grigoriy Volovik (Moscow and Helsinki), Wojciech Zurek (Los Alamos).


The Advanced Study Institute will be open to approximately 60 participants. The full cost of accommodation and food is FF 4642; this amount is due on arrival in Les Houches. The ASI is supported by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the European Science Foundation, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and the Université J. Fourier



Mail should be sent to: Topological Defects School / Les Houches 99, c/o Yu. M. Bunkov and H. Godfrin, CNRS-CRTBT, BP 166, 38042 Grenoble Cedex 09, France. Fax: (33) 4 76 87 50 60 Phone: (33) 4 76 88 12 52 or (33) 4 76 88 90 63.


Program and lectures

Program of round tables and discussions

Lectures abstracts


Les Houches is a resort village in the Chamonix valley of the French Alps. The Physics School in Les Houches, established in 1951, is located in a group of mountain chalets surrounded by meadows and woods at 1150 m elevation. It is ideally located for intellectual pursuits as well as for mountain sports. The Physics School in Les Houches is affiliated to the University Joseph Fourier and the National Polytechnical Institute in Grenoble. It is subsidised by the MENESR, CNRS and Atomic Energy Commission.


Centre de Physique des Houches, Côte des Chavants, F-74310 Les Houches

Director: Martial DUCLOY, Phone (33) 1 49 40 39 00 or (33) 4 50 54 40 69

Fax (33) 4 50 55 53 25