ICTP awarded its 2018 Dirac Medal and Prize to three distinguished physicists - Subir Sachdev of Harvard University, Dam Thanh Son of the University of Chicago, and Xiao-Gang Wen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology - for their independent contributions toward understanding novel phases in strongly interacting many-body systems, introducing original cross-disciplinary techniques.
The Dirac Medal and Prize Ceremony will take place on Thursday 28 March 2019, starting at 14.00 hrs in the Budinich Lecture Hall.
Three talks are scheduled, with an introduction by Prof. David Tong from the University of Cambridge, UK.
- Prof. Dam Thanh Son "From fractional quantum Hall effect to field-theoretic dualities"
Abstract: The fractional quantum Hall fluid is one of the most nontrivial strongly interacting fluids of nature. Many phenomena occurring in this fluid can be explained by postulating a new type of quasiparticle - the composite fermion. I will describe the new "Dirac composite fermion" theory, which has provided a simple solution to some long-standing puzzles and at the same time has stimulated the discovery of a large number of new dualities between quantum field theories in (2+1) dimensions. I will also describe physical consequences of the new theory
Prof. Dam Thanh Son was born in Hanoi, Vietnam in 1969. He graduated from Moscow State University in 1991 and received his PhD in physics in 1995 from the Institute for Nuclear Research in Moscow, Russia. He subsequently held postdoctoral appointments at the University of Washington and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and faculty appointments at Columbia University and the University of Washington. In 2012 he moves to the University of Chicago where he is now a University Professor in the Department of Physics. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
- Prof. Subir Sachdev "Strange metals and black holes"
Abstract: The ‘strange metal’, a state of matter formed by electrons in many modern materials, including the compounds which exhibit high temperature superconductivity.
In this state, electrons quantum entangle with each other and conduct electric current collectively (rather than one-by-one, as in an ordinary metal like copper).
Quantum entanglement also has remarkable effects near the horizon of a black hole, leading to the Bekenstein-Hawking black hole entropy, and the Hawking temperature.
Surprisingly, there is a deep connection between the nature of quantum entanglement in strange metals and black holes, and this has led to mutually beneficial insights. This connection is simply described by the Sachdev-Ye-Kitaev model, which leads to a common set of equations describing the quantum dynamics of certain strange metals and black holes.
Sachdev was educated in Bangalore, India before attending MIT and Harvard where he obtained his PhD degree in theoretical physics. He held professional positions at Bell Labs (1985–1987) and at Yale University (1987–2005), where he was a Professor of Physics, before returning to Harvard where he is now the Herchel Smith Professor of Physics. He also holds a visiting position as the James Clerk Maxwell Chair in Theoretical Physics at the Perimeter Institute. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, fellow of the American Physical Society and has been awarded several honors, among them the Lorentz Chair, Instituut-Lorentz, Leiden University in 2012, Lars Onsager Prize from the American Physical Society and more recently the Dirac Medal from the ICTP in 2018. Sachdev delivered the Salam Distinguished Lecture series at ICTP in 2014.
- Prof. Xiao-Gang Wen "Topological order and non-Abelian statistics"
Abstract: Topological order describes a new kind of quantum matter (ie matter at zero temperature) beyond symmetry breaking. In this talk I will concentrate on one of the exotic properties of topological order in 2 space dimension: non-Abelian statistics, which is a generalization of the familiar Bose and
Fermi statistics. It turns out that non-Abelian statistics allows us to us topologically ordered materials to perform topological quantum computations.
Prof. Xiao-Gang Wen is a theoretical condensed matter physicist, recognized for his work on introducing the notion topological order (1989) and developing the theories of this new class of quantum states of matter. Since 2000, the study of topological states of matter slowly became a very active new field in condensed matter physics. Wen was born in Beijing, China. He went to the University of Science and Technology of China after the reopening of universities in China in 1977. Through T.D. Lee’s CUSPEA program, he obtained a chance to enter the graduate school of Princeton University in 1982, and earned a Ph.D degree in the field of superstring theory under Prof. Witten.
During his postdoctoral period (1987-1989) in ITP, Santa Barbara, he started to pursue research in condensed matter physics. After a two-years stay in IAS, Princeton, he joined the faculty of department of Physics, MIT in 1991.
ICTP's Dirac Medal, first awarded in 1985, is given in honor of P.A.M. Dirac, one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century and a staunch friend of ICTP. It is awarded annually on Dirac's birthday, 8 August, to scientists who have made significant contributions to theoretical physics.
The events will be livestreamed from the ICTP website.
Light refreshments will follow the event.
All are welcome to participate.
Link to the feature article for more information on the 2018 awardees: https://www.ictp.it/about-ictp/media-centre/news/2018/8/dirac-medal-2018.aspx