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## Symmetry breaking gives rise to energy spectra of three states of matter

A fundamental task of statistical physics is to start with a microscopic Hamiltonian, predict the system's statistical properties and compare them with observable data. A notable current fundamental challenge is to tell whether and how an interacting Hamiltonian predicts different energy spectra, including solid, liquid and gas phases. Here, we propose a new idea that enables a unified description of all three states of matter. We introduce a generic form of an interacting phonon Hamiltonian with ground state configurations minimising the potential. Symmetry breaking *SO*(3) to *SO*(2), from the group of rotations in reciprocal space to its subgroup, leads to emergence of energy gaps of shear excitations as a consequence of the Goldstone theorem, and readily results in the emergence of energy spectra of solid, liquid and gas phases.