Relevance of liquid state to solid state properties
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We outline in this talk the beginning of a new programme to study physical properties of crystalline solids. It is based on considering the latter, a broken symmetry phase, in terms of the higher symmetry liquid phase. The solid is a calculable perturbation on the fluid. This is exactly opposite to the standard approach which relates mechanical properties to the behaviour of defects (mainly dislocations) etc., in an otherwise perfect crystalline solid. However, most other broken symmetry phases (e.g. ferromagnets) are discussed starting from a symmetric Hamiltonian or a free energy functional, and earlier work by one of the authors shows that the liquid-solid transition is well described, qualitatively and quantitatively, by this approach. On the other hand, defect theories of melting have a long record of nonsuccess. In the first part of the talk, the density wave theory of freezing will be outlined, and it will be shown how properties such as Debye Waller factor, entropy change of freezing etc. can be calculated with no or one free parameter. The problem of calculating shear elastic constants and dislocation core structures as well as energies in terms only of observable liquid state properties will be set up, and results presented. The method will be contrasted with zero temperature ‘atomistic’ models which obscure the essential dependence on structure and flounder in a mass of detail. The concluding part will describe further proposed applications, some suggestive experimental results extant in the literature, and some speculations.