Quantum theory of many-body systems
In this article a survey is given of the present status of the quantum theory of many-particle systems with special emphasis on the underlying principles. Very little is said about applications. A brief introduction to some models, which are of interest for an approximate or qualitative description of actual physical systems, is followed by a discussion of two important phenomena in many-particle systems: quasi-particles and collective excitations. Next, an outline is given of mathematical methods which have been used for a precise treatment of such phenomena. A rather thorough discussion of the Bogoliubov model for interacting bosons, and the BCS model for fermions, serves as an illustration. Some new features, typical of many-particle systems, are discussed on the basis of these models. Also another approach to the many-body problem is discussed which is more logical and mathematically more rigorous. This approach differs from standard procedures in that the limit Ω-> infinity, N -> infinity is not taken at the end of the calculations but in the beginning. This quantum theory of infinite systems leads, among other things, to a better understanding of the models mentioned above.