Topological defects formed at symmetry-breaking phase transitions play an important role in many different fields of physics. They appear in many condensed-matter systems at low temperature; examples include vortices in superfluid helium-4, a rich variety of defects in helium-3, quantized mag netic 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 uni verse some of which may lead to defect formation. In astrophysics, defects play an important role in the dynamics of neutron stars. In 1997 the European Science Foundation started the scientific network "Topological defects" headed by Tom Kibble. This network has provided us with a unique opportunity of establishing a collaboration between the representatives of these very different branches of modern physics. The NATO-ASI (Advanced Study Institute), held in Les Houches in February 1999 thanks to the support of the Scientific Division of NATO, the European Science Foundation and the CNRS, represents a key event of this ESF network. It brought together participants from widely different fields, with diverse expertise and vocabulary, fostering the exchange of ideas. The lectures given by particle physicists, cosmologists and condensed matter physicists are the result of the fruitful collaborations established since 1997 between groups in several European countries and in the U.S.A.
Table of ContentsPreface. Dictionary: Condensed matter - High energy physics & cosmology; G.E. Volovik. Classification of topological defects and their relevance to cosmology and elsewhere; T.W.B. Kibble. The Normal and Superfluid States of Liquid 3He; A.J. Leggett. Formation, interaction and observation of topological defects; T. Vachaspati. Shards of broken symmetry: topological defects as traces of the phase transition dynamics; W.H. Zurek, et al. The 'Grenoble' cosmological experiment: The Kibble-Zurek scenario in superfluid 3He; C. Bäuerle, et al. 'Aurore de Venise' - Cosmological scenario of the A-B phase transition in superfluid 3He; Y.M. Bunkov. Non-equilibrium phase transitions in condensed matter and cosmology: spinodal decomposition, condensates and defects; D. Boyanovsky, et al. Defect formation through boson condensation in quantum field theory; G. Vitiello. Magnetic monopoles and vortices in the standard model of electroweak interactions; A. Achucarro. Time-dependent Ginzburg-Landau theory and duality; A.M.J. Schakel. Broken Symmetry and Nonequilibrium Superfluid 3He: Circular Birefringence of Propagating Transverse Currents; J.A. Sauls. Relativistic dynamics of vortex defects in superfluids; B. Carter. Nucleation and pinning of vortices in 4He; É. Varoquaux. Topolotical defects in 3He superfluids; V.B. Eltsov, M. Krusius. Regular vortex production by a moving wire in superfluid 3He-B; D.I. Bradley, G.R. Pickett. 3He and Universe parallelism; G.E. Volovik. Authors Index. Subject Index.