I've been under the impression that "solid state physics" is just an older term for what is now commonly called "condensed matter physics," i.e. that they refer to essentially the same types of physics. Is that actually true? (Or, perhaps I should say, is that view also common in the wider world outside my department?)

I see that we have both a solid-state-physics tag and a condensed-matter tag. If the terms are actually synonymous, I'll merge the tags together; otherwise I think we should get started writing tag wikis that distinguish them.


1 Answer 1


Solid state physics is definitely a branch of condensed matter, but I was under the impression that we want subfield specific tags, no? So for questions on the general theory of solids (band structure, crystallography, semi-conductor physics) I think it's a good, descriptive tag to keep, even if it might always appear with the cond-mat tag.

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    $\begingroup$ Makes sense to me. I don't think we even necessarily need to always have condensed-matter appear with solid-state-physics; we can just mention in the tag wiki that the latter is a subfield of the former. (If anyone wants to get started writing that tag wiki, be my guest :p) $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Commented Jan 15, 2011 at 21:09
  • $\begingroup$ @David Zaslavsky‚ô¶: Good idea with the wiki. Although I'm still hoping a tag hierarchy will be implemented someday... $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 17, 2011 at 11:50
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with @David. Adding redundant tags will just pollute the tags list. It's like adding both mechanics and classical-mechanics. meta.physics.stackexchange.com/questions/290/… $\endgroup$
    – Malabarba
    Commented Jan 18, 2011 at 22:28
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    $\begingroup$ My point is that they're not redundant, but hierarchal -- the analogy would be more like having classical-mechanics and celestial-dynamics or something. @Tobias: tag hierarchy would be awesome! $\endgroup$
    – wsc
    Commented Jan 19, 2011 at 1:45
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    $\begingroup$ To give an example: BECs and superfluids are condensed matter but not solid state. $\endgroup$
    – user68
    Commented Jan 23, 2011 at 1:23

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