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I'm interested in various areas of complex systems, and I often come across articles like these:

http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/cond-mat/pdf/0106/0106096v1.pdf

http://arxiv.org/abs/cond-mat/9804180

The main points are accessible in each (much less so the 2nd one though), but I'd like to be able to understand this sort of writing deeply, or even be able to do it myself.

What sort of studies would I need to undertake? Would a standard thermal/statistical physics class do it, or do I need something more drastic? Are there any resources along the lines "statistical physics for the social scientist" that are still rigorous and high-level?

(There's a question about "statistical physics for the mathematician", but this is almost exactly the opposite of what I need, funnily enough").

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I get a "page not found" error when I follow the link. Are you sure about the URL? –  José Figueroa-O'Farrill May 23 '10 at 11:56
    
Edited the link –  DoubleJay May 23 '10 at 14:31
    
Are you looking for something like this? micro.stanford.edu/~caiwei/me334 –  Gjergji Zaimi May 23 '10 at 14:41
    
Thanks for the link - but I don't know if it can help me. That is, I literally don't know because I have hardly studied statistical mechanics. I don't know if it's a thermodynamics approach, or a condensed matter approach, or a hydrodynamics approach that I want. In fact, it may be all three or something else altogether. I'm guessing thermodynamics can't be a horrible place to start though –  DoubleJay May 23 '10 at 16:35
    
I suggest peeking through Jim Sethna's book pages.physics.cornell.edu/sethna/StatMech which is an intro to statistical mechanics with some applications to the sorts of things that are discussed in the papers you link to. I think you should have at least a solid graduate statistical mechanics course from a physics department if you really want to "understand things deeply". This question really isn't a mathematics question though. –  j.c. Oct 13 '10 at 21:14
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