Getting Stuck: Shaking Up Statistical Physics

Event Date: 
October 14, 2015
Anushya Chandran, Perimeter Institute

In 1958, P.W. Anderson made an unexpected discovery: adding disorder to a solid could cause the electrons to localize, i.e. get stuck. This theoretical result came from quantum effects and it shook the foundations of statistical mechanics. If the electrons can’t move, they cannot decohere and tend to thermal equilibrium, undermining one of the central pillars of the statistical approach to physics. The recent excitement stems from two breakthroughs: the direct experimental observation of localization in ultra-cold atomic gases, and the theory of the role of interactions. In this talk, I will provide an intuitive picture of localization and then move to the current frontiers of our understanding of how getting stuck relates to tantalizing prospects like quantum computation.

Speaker Bio: 
Anushya Chandran earned her Ph.D. in Physics at Princeton University in 2013. Her interests are in correlated phases of matter, far-fromequilibrium quantum dynamics and disordered systems. She grew up on the hot and humid coast of Southern India, dancing and doing math for as long as she can remember. She tried her hand at electrical engineering, but could never seem to wire anything right. Today she studies emergent phenomena in many-body quantum systems and probes the role of entanglement in them.