Peering into the Secret Life of Electrons with Ali Yazdani at Aspen Center for Physics

Public Lecture

Peering into the Secret Life of Electrons

Ali Yazdani

Wed, Jul 24, 5:30–6:30pm

Flug Forum, Aspen Center for Physics


Quantum physics is 99 years old. The quantum theory has been astonishingly successful, especially in describing the properties of individual quantum particles and light. This success has transformed our lives through the advances in technologies that we use every day. 

Currently, the frontier of quantum physics is understanding the collective properties of many interacting and entangled quantum particles. Many electron quantum phenomena are not only of fundamental interest but can lead to transformative technologies impacting the future — from new energy technologies to new computing platforms.

In this talk, Dr. Yazdani will describe how certain materials host highly interacting electrons and how we use powerful quantum microscopy techniques to visualize their behavior. Part of the talk will focus on how we used these quantum microscopy techniques to crack a 90-year-old puzzle of electron behavior, by imaging for the first time a strange quantum crystal made up of only electrons. He will also describe how such experiments are forging a novel way to study the quantum fluids of interacting electrons in which new exotic quantum particles emerge. These exotic quantum particles are not only of fundamental interest but they might provide a new platform for creating quantum computing technologies.

Ali Yazdani Headshot

About Ali Yazdani

Ali Yazdani is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Physics at Princeton University and co-director of the Princeton Quantum Initiative. Yazdani is known for his research in advancing our understanding of emergent quantum phenomena by application and development of high-resolution microscopy techniques to directly visualize highly entangled quantum states of matter.

He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in physics and from Stanford University in 1995 with a Ph.D. in applied physics. After working as a postdoctoral scientist at the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), he started his own independent research group at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign before joining the Princeton University’s Physics Department in 2005. He has held visiting professorships at Stanford and at Cambridge University (Trinity College) in the UK and has been a Loeb Lecturer at Harvard. For his research accomplishments, Yazdani has been recognized by several awards and honors including a Humboldt research award and has been elected a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2019, he was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2022, he was named co-winner of the 2023 Oliver E. Buckley Prize by the American Physical Society. Yazdani has advised more than 30 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Heinz R. Pagels Public Lecture Series

Heinz R Pagels was a professor of physics at Rockefeller University, president of the New York Academy of Science, a trustee of the Aspen Institute, and a member of the Aspen Center for Physics for twenty years, serving as a participant, officer, and trustee. He was also President of the International League for Human Rights. His work on chaos theory inspired the character of Ian Malcolm in the Jurassic Park book and movies. A part-time local resident, Professor Pagels died here in a mountaineering accident in 1988. His family and friends instituted the lecture series in his honor because he devoted a substantial part of his life to effective public dissemination of scientific knowledge.

Heinz Pagels

Other Upcoming Events

Octopuses, Brains and the Magic of Emergence with Leenoy Meshulam, painting by Sasini Wickramatunga

Public Lecture

Octopuses, Brains, and the Magic of Emergence

Wed, Jul 31, 5:30–6:30pm
Flug Forum, Aspen Center for Physics

The Universe in Us public lecture at Aspen Center for Physics with Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz

Public Lecture

The Universe in Us

Wed, Aug 7, 5:30–6:30pm
Flug Forum, Aspen Center for Physics

VLA Panorama

Public Lecture

Exploring the Fourth Dimension: TIME

Wed, Aug 14, 5:30–6:30pm
Flug Forum, Aspen Center for Physics