Issue No. 05 - September/October (1999 vol. 1)
The examination of phase transitions and critical phenomena has dominated statistical physics for the latter half of this century--there is a great theoretical challenge in solving special statistical mechanical models. Additionally, beautiful experimental results have elucidated the singularities (critical behavior) that occur in phase transitions. Although a few spectacular successes in the exact solution of simple models have occurred, interesting systems have mostly proven to be intractable from the analytic perspective. Because many physically disparate systems show identical critical behavior, identifying and understanding general principles of universality and their relationship to microscopic symmetries are of fundamental importance
D. P. Landau, "Phase Transitions and Critical Phenomena," in Computing in Science & Engineering, vol. 1, no. , pp. 10-11, 1999.