August 16 J.C. Séamus Davis Public Lecture

Visualizing the Quantum World

Paepcke Auditorium
6:00 pm

Speaker: J.C. Séamus Davis, Cornell

J.C. Séamus Davis graduated in 1983 from University College Cork, Ireland, with a B.Sc. in Physics. He earned a Physics PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1989. He was appointed Professor of Physics at the University of California, Berkeley and a Faculty Physicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory between 1993 and 2003. He became Professor of Physics at Cornell University in 2003 and a Senior Physicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory in 2006. He is now the J.G. White Distinguished Professor of Physical Sciences at Cornell University and the SUPA Distinguished Research Professor of Physics at St. Andrews University, Scotland. In 2009 he was appointed Scientific Director of the Center for Emergent Superconductivity, a DOE Energy Frontier Research Center.

Davis has been the recipient of the NSF National Young Investigator Award (1994), the Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering (1994), the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship (1996), the Miller Research Professorship (1997), the Outstanding Performance Award of the Lawrence Berkeley Nat. Lab. (2001), the Fritz London Memorial Prize (2005), and the H. Kammerling Onnes Prize (2009). He is a Fellow of the British Institute of Physics and of the American Physical Society, and in 2010 he was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences.

The Davis Group undertakes a wide range of experimental low-temperature research into the fundamental macroscopic quantum physics of superconductors, superfluids, supersolids and heavy fermion systems, as well as developing new techniques for visualization and measurement of complex quantum matter.


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. I will describe the very recent development of techniques that allow us to visualize electronic quantum matter directly at the atomic scale. As an example we will visually explore the uniquely beautiful and complex electronic structure of the high temperature superconducting state one of the most mysterious and potentially important forms of quantum matter in nature. I will discuss future avenues for development and application of these techniques for Visualizing the Quantum World.