Physics Colloquium: Visualizing the Quantum World

Professor J. C. Seamus Davis, Cornell University & Brookhaven National Laboratory

Thursday 09 May 2013, 1400-1500
Cavendish Colloquium Room

Everything around us, everything each of us has ever experienced, and virtually everything underpinning our technological society and economy is governed by quantum mechanics. Yet this most fundamental physical theory of nature often feels as if it is a set of somewhat eerie and counterintuitive ideas of no direct relevance to our lives.

Why is this? One reason is that we cannot perceive the strangeness (and astonishing beauty) of the quantum mechanical phenomena all around us by using our own senses.

Davis will describe the very recent development of techniques that allow us to visualize electronic quantum matter directly at the atomic scale. He will discuss new avenues for application of these techniques to direct visualization of the most exotic forms of electronic quantum matter now under study in condensed matter physics. Examples from Davis' current research will include: high temperature superconductors, electronic liquid crystals, and quantum critical heavy fermions.