School of Humanities and Sciences


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  • Tom Abel

    Tom Abel

    Professor of Particle Physics and Astrophysics and of Physics

    BioWhat were the first objects that formed in the Universe? Prof. Abel's group explores the first billion years of cosmic history using ab initio supercomputer calculations. He has shown from first principles that the very first luminous objects are very massive stars and has developed novel numerical algorithms using adaptive-mesh-refinement simulations that capture over 14 orders of magnitude in length and time scales. He currently continues his work on the first stars and first galaxies and their role in chemical enrichment and cosmological reionization. His group studies any of the first objects to form in the universe: first stars, first supernovae, first HII regions, first magnetic fields, first heavy elements, and so on. Most recently he is pioneering novel numerical algorithms to study collisionless fluids such as dark matter which makes up most of the mass in the Universe as well as astrophysical and terrestrial plasmas. He was the director of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology and Division Director at SLAC 2013-2018.

  • Steven Allen

    Steven Allen

    Professor of Physics and of Particle Physics and Astrophysics

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsObservational astrophysics and cosmology; galaxies, galaxy clusters, dark matter and dark energy; applications of statistical methods; X-ray astronomy; X-ray detector development; optical astronomy; mm-wave astronomy; radio astronomy; gravitational lensing.

  • Philip Bucksbaum

    Philip Bucksbaum

    Marguerite Blake Wilbur Professor of Natural Science and Professor of Photon Science, of Applied Physics and of Physics

    BioPhil Bucksbaum holds the Marguerite Blake Wilbur Chair in Natural Science at Stanford University, with appointments in Physics, Applied Physics, and in Photon Science at SLAC. He conducts his research in the Stanford PULSE Institute (https://web.stanford.edu/~phbuck). He and his wife Roberta Morris live in Menlo Park, California with their cat. Their grown daughter lives in Toronto.

    Bucksbaum was born and raised in Iowa, and graduated from Harvard in 1975. He attended U.C. Berkeley on a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship and received his Ph.D. in 1980 for atomic parity violation experiments under Professor Eugene Commins, with whom he also has co-authored a textbook, “Weak Interactions of Leptons and Quarks.” In 1981 he joined Bell Laboratories, where he pursued new applications of ultrafast coherent radiation from terahertz to vacuum ultraviolet, including time-resolved VUV ARPES, and strong-field laser-atom physics.

    He joined the University of Michigan in 1990 and stayed for sixteen years, becoming Otto Laporte Collegiate Professor and then Peter Franken University Professor. He was founding Director of FOCUS, a National Science Foundation Physics Frontier Center, where he pioneered research using ultrafast lasers to control quantum systems. He also launched the first experiments in ultrafast x-ray science at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Lab. In 2006 Bucksbaum moved to Stanford and SLAC, and organized the PULSE Institute to develop research utilizing the world’s first hard x-ray free-electron laser, LCLS. In addition to directing PULSE, he has previously served as Department Chair of Photon Science and Division Director for Chemical Science at SLAC. His current research is in laser interrogation of atoms and molecules to explore and image structure and dynamics on the femtosecond scale. He currently has more than 250 publications.

    Bucksbaum is a Fellow of the APS and the Optical Society, and has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has held Guggenheim and Miller Fellowships, and received the Norman F. Ramsey Prize of the American Physical Society for his work in ultrafast and strong-field atomic and molecular physics. He served as the Optical Society President in 2014, and also served as the President of the American Physical Society in 2020. He has led or participated in many professional service activities, including NAS studies, national and international boards, initiatives, lectureships and editorships.

  • Patricia Burchat

    Patricia Burchat

    Gabilan Professor

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsObservational cosmology. Dark energy. Weak gravitational lensing.
    Preparing for science with the Legacy Survey of Space & Time (LSST).
    Member of the LSST Dark Energy Science Collaboration.

  • Blas Cabrera

    Blas Cabrera

    Stanley G. Wojcicki Professor

    BioFor five years up to mid-2015 has been Spokesperson for the SuperCDMS (Cryogenic Dark Matter Search) collaboration with twenty-two member institutions, which mounted a series of experiments in the Soudan mine in northern Minnesota to search for the dark matter in the form of weakly interacting massive particles or WIMPs. This direct detection effort has lead the world in sensitivity for much of the past ten years and utilizes novel cryogenic detectors using germanium and silicon crystals operated below 0.1 K. The completed CDMS II experiment operated 4 kg of germanium and 1 kg of silicon for two years and set the most sensitive limits at the time for spin-independent interactions for WIMPs masses above 40 GeV/c2. The SuperCDMS Soudan experiment operated 9 kg of germanium until the end of calendar 2015.

    He was selected for a three-term as Project Director, through mid 2018, for the approved second generation (G2) SuperCDMS SNOLAB experiment which will operate 30 kg of Ge and Si detectors in the deeper SNOLAB facility in Canada. The project searches for low mass WIMPs (0.1 - 10 GeV/c2) and the cryostat facility will allow future upgrades to search down to the solar neutrino floor. It has recently been approved for full construction by the DOE and NSF.

  • Steven Chu

    Steven Chu

    William R. Kenan Jr. Professor and Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsSynthesis, functionalization and applications of nanoparticle bioprobes for molecular cellular in vivo imaging in biology and biomedicine. Linear and nonlinear difference frequency mixing ultrasound imaging. Lithium metal-sulfur batteries, new approaches to electrochemical splitting of water. CO2 reduction, lithium extraction from salt water

  • Savas Dimopoulos

    Savas Dimopoulos

    Hamamoto Family Professor

    BioWhat is the origin of mass? Are there other universes with different physical laws?

    Professor Dimopoulos has been searching for answers to some of the deepest mysteries of nature. Why is gravity so weak? Do elementary particles have substructure? What is the origin of mass? Are there new dimensions? Can we produce black holes in the lab?

    Elementary particle physics is entering a spectacular new era in which experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN will soon shed light on such questions and lead to a new deeper theory of particle physics, replacing the Standard Model proposed forty years ago. The two leading candidates for new theories are the Supersymmetric Standard Model and theories with Large Extra Dimensions, both proposed by Professor Dimopoulos and collaborators.

    Professor Dimopoulos is collaborating on a number of experiments that use the dramatic advances in atom interferometry to do fundamental physics. These include testing Einstein’s theory of general relativity to fifteen decimal precision, atom neutrality to thirty decimals, and looking for modifications of quantum mechanics. He is also designing an atom-interferometric gravity-wave detector that will allow us to look at the universe with gravity waves instead of light, marking the dawn of gravity wave astronomy and cosmology.

  • Persis Drell

    Persis Drell

    Provost, James and Anna Marie Spilker Professor and Professor in the School of Engineering, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Professor of Physics

    BioPersis Drell, Provost

    Drell is a physicist who has served on the Stanford faculty since 2002. She is the James and Anna Marie Spilker Professor in the School of Engineering, a professor of materials science and engineering, and a professor of physics. She is the former dean of the Stanford School of Engineering and the former director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford.

    Drell received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics from Wellesley College in 1977, followed by a PhD in atomic physics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1983. She then switched to high-energy experimental physics and worked as a postdoctoral scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She joined the physics faculty at Cornell University in 1988.

    In 2002, Drell joined the Stanford faculty as a professor and director of research at SLAC. In her early years at SLAC, she worked on the construction of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. In 2005, she became SLAC’s deputy director and was named director two years later. She led the 1,600-employee SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory until 2012. Drell is credited with helping broaden the focus of the laboratory, increasing collaborations between SLAC and the main Stanford campus, and overseeing transformational projects.

    During Drell’s tenure as director, SLAC transitioned from being a laboratory dedicated primarily to research in high-energy physics to one that is now seen as a leader in a number of scientific disciplines. In 2010, the laboratory began operations of the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS). LCLS is the world’s most powerful X-ray free electron laser, which is revolutionizing study of the atomic and molecular world. LCLS is used to conduct scientific research and drive applications in energy and environmental sciences, drug development, and materials engineering.

    After serving as the director of SLAC, Drell returned to the Stanford faculty, focusing her research on technology development for free electron lasers and particle astrophysics. Drell was named the dean of the Stanford School of Engineering in 2014.

    As dean of the School of Engineering, Drell catalyzed a collaborative school-wide process, known as the SoE-Future process, to explore the realms of possibility for the future of the School of Engineering and engineering education and research. The process engaged a broad group of stakeholders to ask in what areas the School of Engineering could make significant world-changing impact, and how the school should be configured to address the major opportunities and challenges of the future.

    The process resulted in a set of 10 broad aspirational questions to inspire thought on the school’s potential impact in the next 20 years. The process also resulted in a series of actionable recommendations across three areas – research, education, and culture. Drell’s approach to leading change emphasized the importance of creating conditions to optimize the probability of success.

    As dean, Drell placed an emphasis on diversity and inclusion. She focused on increasing the participation of women and underrepresented minorities in engineering. She also sought to ensure a welcoming and inclusive environment for students of all backgrounds in the school.

    In addition to her administrative responsibilities, Drell teaches a winter-quarter companion course to introductory physics each year for undergraduate students who had limited exposure to the subject in high school.

    Drell is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a fellow of the American Physical Society. She has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award.

  • Benjamin Ezekiel Feldman

    Benjamin Ezekiel Feldman

    Assistant Professor of Physics

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsHow do material properties change as a result of interactions among electrons, and what is the nature of the new phases that result? What novel physical phenomena and functionality (e.g., symmetry breaking or topological excitations) can be realized by combining materials and device elements to produce emergent behavior? How can we leverage nontraditional measurement techniques to gain new insight into quantum materials? These are some of the overarching questions we seek to address in our research.

    We are interested in a variety of quantum systems, especially those composed of two-dimensional flakes and heterostructures. This class of materials has been shown to exhibit an incredible variability in their properties, with the further benefit that they are highly tunable through gating and applied fields.

  • David Goldhaber-Gordon

    David Goldhaber-Gordon

    Professor of Physics and, by courtesy, of Applied Physics

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsHow do electrons organize themselves on the nanoscale?

    We know that electrons are charged particles, and hence repel each other; yet in common metals like copper billions of electrons have plenty of room to maneuver and seem to move independently, taking no notice of each other. Professor Goldhaber-Gordon studies how electrons behave when they are instead confined to tiny structures, such as wires only tens of atoms wide. When constrained this way, electrons cannot easily avoid each other, and interactions strongly affect their organization and flow. The Goldhaber-Gordon group uses advanced fabrication techniques to confine electrons to semiconductor nanostructures, to extend our understanding of quantum mechanics to interacting particles, and to provide the basic science that will shape possible designs for future transistors and energy conversion technologies. The Goldhaber-Gordon group makes measurements using cryogenics, precision electrical measurements, and novel scanning probe techniques that allow direct spatial mapping of electron organization and flow. For some of their measurements of exotic quantum states, they cool electrons to a fiftieth of a degree above absolute zero, the world record for electrons in semiconductor nanostructures.

  • Peter Graham

    Peter Graham

    Associate Professor of Physics

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsWhat physics lies beyond the Standard Model and how can we discover it?

    Professor Graham is broadly interested in theoretical physics beyond the Standard Model which often involves cosmology, astrophysics, general relativity, and even atomic physics. The Standard Model leaves many questions unanswered including the nature of dark matter and the origins of the weak scale, the cosmological constant, and the fundamental fermion masses. These clues are a guide to building new theories beyond the Standard Model. He recently proposed a new solution to the hierarchy problem which uses dynamical relaxation in the early universe instead of new physics at the weak scale.

    Professor Graham is also interested in inventing novel experiments to discover such new physics, frequently using techniques from astrophysics, condensed matter, and atomic physics. He is a proposer and co-PI of the Cosmic Axion Spin Precession Experiment (CASPEr) and the DM Radio experiment. CASPEr uses nuclear magnetic resonance techniques to search for axion dark matter. DM Radio uses high precision magnetometry and electromagnetic resonators to search for hidden photon and axion dark matter. He has also proposed techniques for gravitational wave detection using atom interferometry.

    Current areas of focus:

    Theory beyond the Standard Model
    Dark matter models and detection
    Novel experimental proposals for discovering new physics such as axions and gravitational waves
    Understanding results from experiments ranging from the LHC to early universe cosmology

  • Patrick Hayden

    Patrick Hayden

    Stanford Professor of Quantum Physics and Professor, by courtesy, of Computer Science

    BioProfessor Hayden is a leader in the exciting new field of quantum information science. He has contributed greatly to our understanding of the absolute limits that quantum mechanics places on information processing, and how to exploit quantum effects for computing and other aspects of communication. He has also made some key insights on the relationship between black holes and information theory.

  • Leo Hollberg

    Leo Hollberg

    Professor (Research) of Physics

    BioHow can we make optimal use of quantum systems (atoms, lasers, and electronics) to test fundamental physics principles, enable precision measurements of space-time and when feasible, develop useful devices, sensors, and instruments?

    Professor Hollberg’s research objectives include high precision tests of fundamental physics as well as applications of laser physics and technology. This experimental program in laser/atomic physics focuses on high-resolution spectroscopy of laser-cooled and -trapped atoms, non-linear optical coherence effects in atoms, optical frequency combs, optical/microwave atomic clocks, and high sensitivity trace gas detection. Frequently this involves the study of laser noise and methods to circumvent measurement limitations, up to, and beyond, quantum limited optical detection. Technologies and tools utilized include frequency-stabilized lasers and chip-scale atomic devices. Based in the Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory (HEPL), this research program has strong, synergistic, collaborative connections to the Stanford Center on Position Navigation and Time (SCPNT). Research directions are inspired by experience that deeper understanding of fundamental science is critical and vital in addressing real-world problems, for example in the environment, energy, and navigation. Amazing new technologies and devices enable experiments that test fundamental principles with high precision and sometimes lead to the development of better instruments and sensors. Ultrasensitive optical detection of atoms, monitoring of trace gases, isotopes, and chemicals can impact many fields. Results from well-designed experiments teach us about the “realities” of nature, guide and inform, occasionally produce new discoveries, frequently surprise, and almost always generate new questions and perspectives.

  • Shamit Kachru

    Shamit Kachru

    Professor of Physics and Director, Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy current research is focused in three directions:

    — Mathematical aspects of string theory (with a focus on BPS state counts, black holes, and moonshine)

    — Quantum field theory approaches to condensed matter physics (with a focus on physics of non-Fermi liquids)

    — Theoretical biology, with a focus on evolution and ecology

  • Renata Kallosh

    Renata Kallosh

    Stanford W. Ascherman, MD Professor and Professor, by courtesy, of Mathematics

    BioWhat is the mathematical structure of supergravity/string theory and its relation to cosmology?

    Professor Kallosh works on the general structure of supergravity and string theory and their applications to cosmology. Her main interests are related to the models early universe inflation and dark energy in string theory. She develops string theory models explaining the origin of the universe and its current acceleration. With her collaborators, she has recently constructed de Sitter supergravity, which is most suitable for studies of inflation and dark energy and spontaneously broken supersymmetry.

    She is analyzing possible consequences of the expected new data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and the results of current and future cosmological observations, including Planck satellite CMB data. These results may affect the relationship between superstring theory and supergravity, and the real world. Professor Kallosh works, in particular, on future tests of string theory by CMB data and effective supergravity models with flexible amplitude of gravitational waves produced during inflation.

  • Aharon Kapitulnik

    Aharon Kapitulnik

    Theodore and Sydney Rosenberg Professor of Applied Physics and Professor of Physics

    BioAharon Kapitulnik is the Theodore and Sydney Rosenberg Professor in Applied Physics at the Departments of Applied Physics and Physics at Stanford University. His research focuses on experimental condensed matter physics, while opportunistically, also apply his methods to tabletop experimental studies of fundamental phenomena in physics. His recent studies cover a broad spectrum of phenomena associated with the behavior of correlated and disordered electron systems, particularly in reduced dimensions, and the development of effective instrumentation to detect subtle signatures of physical phenomena.

    Among other recognitions, his activities earned him the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship (1986-90), a Presidential Young Investigator Award (1987-92), a Sackler Scholar at Tel-Aviv University (2006), the Heike Kamerlingh Onnes Prize for Superconductivity Experiment (2009), a RTRA (Le Triangle de la Physique) Senior Chair (2010), and the Oliver Buckley Condensed Matter Prize of the American Physical Society (2015). Aharon Kapitulnik is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Kapitulnik holds a Ph.D. in Physics from Tel-Aviv University (1983).

  • Steven Kivelson

    Steven Kivelson

    Prabhu Goel Family Professor

    BioRESEARCH INTERESTS:

    How do the interactions between the vastly many electrons in solids produce the emergent phenomena we recognize as the macroscopic behavior of the materials we encounter in everyday life, and in the exotic materials and devices we engineer in the laboratory?

    The central source of intellectual vitality and practical importance of condensed matter physics is the richness and diversity of behaviors exhibited by strongly interacting systems with many degrees of freedom, ranging from the collective behavior of neurons in the brain to the collective condensation of Cooper pairs that produce the macroscopic quantum phenomena associated with superconducting order.

    The main thrust of the research carried out by Professor Kivelson is the search for theoretical characterization of qualitatively new behaviors of interacting electrons (i.e., new states of matter)as well as new regimes of parameters in which familiar states of matter behave in new and different ways. In particular, he seeks to explore; qualitatively...the relation between the microscopic interactions between electrons and the effective parameters that control the macroscopic behavior of solids.

    Current areas of Focus:

    - theory of quantum liquid crystalline phases of highly correlated electronic fluids
    - intertwined orders and the theory of high temperature superconductivity
    - theory of spin liquids and other fractionalized quantum phases
    - theory of the glass transition in super cool liquids

  • Chao-Lin Kuo

    Chao-Lin Kuo

    Professor of Physics and of Particle Physics and Astrophysics

    Current Research and Scholarly Interests1. Searching/measuring primordial gravitational waves in the CMB (Cosmic Microwave Background) through experiments at the South Pole (BICEP and SPT), high plateaus in Tibet (AliCPT) and Atacama (Simons Observatory), as well as in space (LiteBIRD).

    2. Development and applications of superconducting detector and readout systems in astrophysics, cosmology, and other areas.

    3. Novel detector concepts for axion searches (https://youtu.be/UBscQSFzpLE)

  • Robert Laughlin

    Robert Laughlin

    Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences

    BioProfessor Laughlin is a theorist with interests ranging from hard-core engineering to cosmology. He is an expert in semiconductors (Nobel Prize 1998) and has also worked on plasma and nuclear physics issues related to fusion and nuclear-pumped X-ray lasers. His technical work at the moment focuses on “correlated-electron” phenomenology – working backward from experimental properties of materials to infer the presence (or not) of new kinds of quantum self-organization. He recently proposed that all Mott insulators – including the notorious doped ones that exhibit high-temperature superconductivity – are plagued by a new kind of subsidiary order called “orbital antiferromagnetism” that is difficult to detect directly. He is also the author of A Different Universe, a lay-accessible book explaining emergent law.

  • Benjamin Lev

    Benjamin Lev

    Associate Professor of Applied Physics and of Physics

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsLevLab explores uncharted regimes of strongly correlated and topological matter by pushing the experimental state-of-the-art in ultracold atomic physics, quantum optics, and condensed matter physics. At a billionth of a degree above absolute zero, laser-cooled and trapped gases of neutral atoms are among the coldest objects in the universe. We employ quantum gases as versatile testbeds for exploring the organizing principles of novel quantum matter.

  • Craig Levin

    Craig Levin

    Professor of Radiology (Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford/Nuclear Medicine) and, by courtesy, of Physics, of Electrical Engineering and of Bioengineering
    On Partial Leave from 09/01/2021 To 08/31/2022

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMolecular Imaging Instrumentation
    Laboratory

    Our research interests involve the development of novel instrumentation and software algorithms for in vivo imaging of cellular and molecular signatures of disease in humans and small laboratory animal subjects.

  • Andrei Linde

    Andrei Linde

    Harald Trap Friis Professor

    BioWhat is the origin and the global structure of the universe?

    For a long time, scientists believed that our universe was born in the big bang, as an expanding ball of fire. This scenario dramatically changed during the last 35 years. Now we think that initially the universe was rapidly inflating, being in an unstable energetic vacuum-like state. It became hot only later, when this vacuum-like state decayed. Quantum fluctuations produced during inflation are responsible for galaxy formation. In some places, these quantum fluctuations are so large that they can produce new rapidly expanding parts of the universe. This process makes the universe immortal and transforms it into a multiverse, a huge fractal consisting of many exponentially large parts with different laws of low-energy physics operating in each of them.

    Professor Linde is one of the authors of inflationary theory and of the theory of an eternal inflationary multiverse. His work emphasizes the cosmological implications of string theory and supergravity.

    Current areas of focus:

    - Construction of realistic models of inflation based on supergravity and string theory
    - Investigation of conceptual issues related to the theory of inflationary multiverse

  • Bruce Macintosh

    Bruce Macintosh

    Professor of Physics

    BioBruce Macintosh's research focusses on the study of extrasolar planets, in particular the study of such planets through direct imaging, and on using adaptive optics to shape the wavefronts of light for a variety of applications. Direct imaging of extrasolar planets involves blocking, suppressing, and subtracting the light of the bright parent star so that a planet hundreds of thousands of times fainter can be seen and studied in detail. Prof. Macintosh is the Principal Investigator of the Gemini Planet Imager http://planetimager.org/ ,an advanced adaptive optics planet-finder for the Gemini South telescope,. He also leads a Science Investigation Team for the coronagraph instrument on the WFIRST mission, focused on imaging and spectroscopy of extrasolar planets. He serves as Deputy Director of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology https://kipac.stanford.edu/

    Professor Macintosh believes strongly in making astronomy and physics more inclusive, diverse and supportive. He currently chairs the Physics Department's Equity and Inclusion Committee https://physics.stanford.edu/about/equity-and-inclusion/committee and is active in science policy including the recently-completed Astronomy and Astrophysics 2020 Decadal Survey.

  • Vahe Petrosian

    Vahe Petrosian

    Professor of Physics and of Applied Physics
    On Leave from 01/01/2022 To 08/31/2022

    BioHow do things evolve in the universe? How are particles accelerated in the universe?

    Professor Petrosian’s research covers many topics in the broad area of theoretical astrophysics and cosmology, with a strong focus on high-energy astrophysical processes.

    Cosmological studies deal with global properties of the universe, where the main focus is the understanding of the evolution of the universe at high redshifts, through studies of the evolutions of population of sources such as galaxies and quasars or active galactic nuclei, gamma-ray bursts, using new statistical techniques developed in collaboration with Prof. B. Efron of the Department of Statistics. Another area of research is the use of gravitational lensing in measuring mass in the universe.

    High-energy astrophysics research involves interpretation of non-thermal astronomical sources where particles are accelerated to very high energies and emit various kinds of radiation. These processes occur on many scales and in all sorts of objects: in the magnetosphere of planets, in the interplanetary space, during solar and stellar flares, in the accretion disks and jets around stellar-size and super-massive black holes, at centers of galaxies, in gamma-ray bursts, in supernovae, and in the intra-cluster medium of clusters of galaxies. Plasma physics processes common in all these sources for acceleration of particles and their radiative signature is the main focus of the research here.

  • Xiaoliang Qi

    Xiaoliang Qi

    Professor of Physics

    BioMy current research interest is the interplay of quantum entanglement, quantum gravity and quantum chaos. The characterization of quantum information and quantum entanglement has provided novel understanding to space-time geometry, and relate the dynamics of chaotic many-body systems to the dynamics of space-time, i.e. quantum gravity theory. Based on recent progress in holographic duality (also known as AdS/CFT), my goal is to use tools such as tensor networks and solvable models to provide more microscopic understanding to the emergent space-time geometry from quantum states and quantum dynamics.

    I am also interested in topological states and topological phenomena in condensed matter systems.

    You can find my recent research topics in some talks online:

    http://online.kitp.ucsb.edu/online/chord18/opgrowth/
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__9VBaLfC6Y&t=42s
    http://online.kitp.ucsb.edu/online/qinfo_c17/qi/

  • Stephen Quake

    Stephen Quake

    Lee Otterson Professor in the School of Engineering and Professor of Bioengineering, of Applied Physics and, by courtesy, of Physics

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsSingle molecule biophysics, precision force measurement, micro and nano fabrication with soft materials, integrated microfluidics and large scale biological automation.

  • Monika Schleier-Smith

    Monika Schleier-Smith

    Associate Professor of Physics

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsIn between the few­-particle realm where we have mastered quantum mechanics and the macroscopic domain describable by classical physics, there lies a broad swath of territory where quantum effects are relevant but still largely out of our control and partly beyond our comprehension. This territory includes metrological instruments whose precision is limited by the quantum projection noise of millions of atoms; and materials whose bulk properties emerge from many-­body interactions intractable to simulation on classical computers. Professor Schleier­-Smith’s research aims to advance our control and understanding of many­-particle quantum systems by engineering new quantum states and Hamiltonians with ensembles of laser-cooled atoms.

  • Zhi-Xun Shen

    Zhi-Xun Shen

    Paul Pigott Professor of Physical Sciences, Professor of Applied Physics, of Physics and Senior Fellow at the Precourt Institute for Energy

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsDr. Shen's main research interest lies in the area of condensed matter and materials physics, as well as the applications of materials and devices. He develops photon based innovative instrumentation and advanced experimental techniques, ranging from angle-resolved photoemission to microwave imaging, soft x-ray scattering and time domain spectroscopy and scattering. He has created a body of literature that advanced our understanding of quantum materials, including superconductors, semiconductors, novel magnets, topological insulators, novel carbon and electron emitters. He is best known for his discoveries of the momentum structure of anisotropic d-wave pairing gap and anomalous normal state pseudogap in high temperature superconductors. He has further leveraged the advanced characterization tool to make better materials through thin film and interface engineering.

  • Stephen Shenker

    Stephen Shenker

    Richard Herschel Weiland Professor

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsProfessor Shenker’s research focuses on quantum gravity, in particular string theory and M theory, with an emphasis on nonperturbative aspects.

  • Eva Silverstein

    Eva Silverstein

    Professor of Physics

    BioWhat are the basic degrees of freedom and interactions underlying gravitational and particle physics? What is the mechanism behind the initial seeds of structure in the universe, and how can we test it using cosmological observations? Is there a holographic framework for cosmology that applies throughout the history of the universe, accounting for the effects of horizons and singularities? What new phenomena arise in quantum field theory in generic conditions such as finite density, temperature, or in time dependent backgrounds?

    Professor Silverstein attacks basic problems in several areas of theoretical physics. She develops concrete and testable mechanisms for cosmic inflation, accounting for its sensitivity to very high energy physics. This has led to a fruitful interface with cosmic microwave background research, contributing to a more systematic analysis of its observable phenomenology.
    Professor Silverstein also develops mechanisms for breaking supersymmetry and for stabilizing the extra dimensions of string theory to model the immense hierarchies between the cosmological horizon, electroweak, and Planck scales in nature. In addition, Professor Silverstein uses the ultraviolet completion of gravity afforded by string theory to address questions of quantum gravity, such as singularity resolution and the physics of black hole and cosmological horizons. Professor Silverstein also uses modern techniques in quantum field theory to model strongly coupled phenomena motivated by measurements in condensed matter physics.

    Areas of focus:
    - UV complete mechanisms and systematics of cosmic inflation, including string-theoretic versions of large-field inflation (with gravity wave CMB signatures) and novel mechanisms involving inflaton interactions (with non-Gaussian signatures in the CMB)
    -Systematic theory and analysis of primordial Non-Gaussianity, taking into account strongly non-linear effects in quantum field theory encoded in multi-point correlation functions 
    -Long-range interactions in string theory and implications for black hole physics
    - Concrete holographic models of de Sitter expansion in string theory, aimed at upgrading the AdS/CFT correspondence to cosmology
    - Mechanisms for non-Fermi liquid transport and $2k_F$ singularities from strongly coupled finite density quantum field theory
    - Mechanisms by which the extra degrees of freedom in string theory induce transitions and duality symmetries between spaces of different topology and dimensionality

  • Jon Simon

    Jon Simon

    Associate Professor of Physics and Applied Physics

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsJon's group focuses on exploring synthetic quantum matter using the unique tools available through quantum and classical optics. We typically think of photons as non-interacting, wave-like particles. By harnessing recent innovations in Rydberg-cavity- and circuit- quantum electrodynamics, the Simonlab is able to make photons interact strongly with one another, mimicking collisions between charged electrons. By confining these photons in ultra-low-loss metamaterial structures, the teams "teach" the photons to behave as though they have mass, are in traps, and are experiencing magnetic fields, all by using the structures to tailor the optical dispersion. In total, this provides a unique platform to explore everything from Weyl-semi-metals, to fractional quantum hall puddles, to Mott insulators and quantum dots, all made of light.

    The new tools developed in this endeavor, from twisted fabry-perot resonators, to Rydberg atom ensembles, Floquet-modulated atoms, and coupled cavity optical mode converters, have broad applications in information processing and communication. Indeed, we are now commissioning a new experiment aimed at interconverting optical and mm-wave photons using Rydberg atoms inside of crossed optical and superconducting millimeter resonators as the transducer.

  • Leonard Susskind

    Leonard Susskind

    Felix Bloch Professor of Physics

    BioLeonard Susskind is the Felix Bloch professor of Theoretical physics at Stanford University. His research interests include string theory, quantum field theory, quantum statistical mechanics and quantum cosmology. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an associate member of the faculty of Canada's Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and a distinguished professor of the Korea Institute for Advanced Study.

    Susskind is widely regarded as one of the fathers of string theory, having, with Yoichiro Nambu and Holger Bech Nielsen, independently introduced the idea that particles could in fact be states of excitation of a relativistic string. He was the first to introduce the idea of the string theory landscape in 2003.

  • Lauren Tompkins

    Lauren Tompkins

    Associate Professor of Physics

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsProfessor Tompkins’s research focuses on understanding the relationships which govern matter’s most fundamental constituents. As a member of the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), she utilizes the world’s highest energy person-made particle collisions in order to understand the mechanism that gives particles mass, whether or not our current model of elementary particle interactions is a complete description of nature, and if dark matter can be produced and studied in colliders.

    In order to search for the exceedingly rare interactions which may provide insight to these questions, the LHC will produce a blistering rate of 50 to 80 proton-proton collisions every 25 nanoseconds in 2015 and beyond. Professor Tompkins works on the design and implementation of custom electronics which will improve the ATLAS experiment’s ability to pick out the collisions which produce the Higgs bosons, dark matter particles and other rare events out of the deluge of ordinary interactions. Her group focuses on particles called heavy flavor fermions, the most massive particles not responsible for mediating interactions. Because they are so heavy, they may have a special connection to the origin of mass or physics beyond our current models of particle interactions.

    She is additionally a member of the Light Dark Matter Experiment (LDMX), a proposed experiment to produce and detect dark matter in the laboratory utilizing an accelerated beam of electrons.

  • Robert Wagoner

    Robert Wagoner

    Professor of Physics, Emeritus

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsProbes (accretion disks, ...) of black holes, sources and detectors of gravitational radiation, theories of gravitation, anthropic cosmological principle.

  • Carl Wieman

    Carl Wieman

    Cheriton Family Professor and Professor of Physics and of Education

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsThe Wieman group’s research generally focuses on the nature of expertise in science and engineering, particularly physics, and how that expertise is best learned, measured, and taught. This involves a range of approaches, including individual cognitive interviews, laboratory experiments, and classroom interventions with controls for comparisons. We are also looking at how different classroom practices impact the attitudes and learning of different demographic groups.

  • Richard Zare

    Richard Zare

    Marguerite Blake Wilbur Professor of Natural Science and Professor, by courtesy, of Physics

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy research group is exploring a variety of topics that range from the basic understanding of chemical reaction dynamics to the nature of the chemical contents of single cells.

    Under thermal conditions nature seems to hide the details of how elementary reactions occur through a series of averages over reagent velocity, internal energy, impact parameter, and orientation. To discover the effects of these variables on reactivity, it is necessary to carry out studies of chemical reactions far from equilibrium in which the states of the reactants are more sharply restricted and can be varied in a controlled manner. My research group is attempting to meet this tough experimental challenge through a number of laser techniques that prepare reactants in specific quantum states and probe the quantum state distributions of the resulting products. It is our belief that such state-to-state information gives the deepest insight into the forces that operate in the breaking of old bonds and the making of new ones.

    Space does not permit a full description of these projects, and I earnestly invite correspondence. The following examples are representative:

    The simplest of all neutral bimolecular reactions is the exchange reaction H H2 -> H2 H. We are studying this system and various isotopic cousins using a tunable UV laser pulse to photodissociate HBr (DBr) and hence create fast H (D) atoms of known translational energy in the presence of H2 and/or D2 and using a laser multiphoton ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometer to detect the nascent molecular products in a quantum-state-specific manner by means of an imaging technique. It is expected that these product state distributions will provide a key test of the adequacy of various advanced theoretical schemes for modeling this reaction.

    Analytical efforts involve the use of capillary zone electrophoresis, two-step laser desorption laser multiphoton ionization mass spectrometry, cavity ring-down spectroscopy, and Hadamard transform time-of-flight mass spectrometry. We believe these methods can revolutionize trace analysis, particularly of biomolecules in cells.