Niels Bohr Lecture by professor Jan Zaanen – Niels Bohr Institutet - Københavns Universitet

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Niels Bohr Lecture by professor Jan Zaanen

The string theory – condensed matter flirtation: an eyewitness account

Jan Zaanen is professor of theoretical physics at Leiden University, and well known for his seminal contributions to the theory of strongly interacting electron systems.

Abstract: A quake is rumbling through the core of physics: the empiricisms of condensed matter physics and the mathematics of string theory appear to have some deep relations. For the initiated this has an unusually strong allure, but since this cocktail involves some of the most impenetrable areas of physics it is not easy to communicate the excitement to the community at large. 

I will attempt to get some of it across by telling the story from the perspective of a  condensed matter theorist who learned string theory only quite recently. How string theory evolved from a reductionist’s enterprise into some modern incarnation of statistical physics, equipped with general relativity turbo’s and quantum information boosters in the form of the “AdS/CFT” holographic duality.

How the universality of general relativity turned into a classification method for phases of matter, including new forms of “quantum” matter characterized by dense quantum entanglements on the macroscopic scale. How the latter reveal highly unusual traits having eerie resemblances with the mysterious experimental observations, with as highlight the famous linear resistivity measured in the strange metal phase of the high Tc supercondcutors.

  • AUD. 3 at HCØ, March 21, 2018 at 15:15

As usual, coffee, tea and cookies will be served in front of the auditorium at 14:55.

About Jan Zaanen

Jan Zaanen is professor of theoretical physics at Leiden University.  He is well known for his seminal contributions to the theory of strongly interacting electron systems, such as the Zaanen-Sawatzky-Allen classification of Mott insulators, the LDA+U band structure method and his discovery of the electronic stripes. He moved in  the course of his career  to the interface between high energy- and condensed matter physics and he is presently focussed on exploring the consequences of the AdS/CFT correspondence in condensed matter physics. He is among others the recipient of the Spinoza award (the "dutch Nobel prize") and fellow of the dutch Royal Academy (KNAW).