Quantum Alchemy: Suchitra Sebastian

Public Lecture

Quantum Alchemy

Suchitra Sebastian

University of Cambridge

Wed, Jul 12, 5:30–6:30pm

Flug Forum, Aspen Center for Physics

In this talk, Professor Suchitra Sebastian will explore the fascinating class of quantum materials, where surprising and unpredictable collective phenomena emerge from interactions between trillion trillions (10^23) of electrons, as many as the stars in the observable universe. Superconductivity is one such striking quantum phenomenon, in which electrons collectively self-organize to conduct electricity perfectly without loss, with important sustainable energy applications. Suchitra will discuss experimental approaches to tackle the challenge of discovering new and more exotic quantum phases of matter. She will introduce an experimental design she terms ‘quantum alchemy’, by which she searches for novel phases of matter at quantum phase boundaries. Here, large quantum fluctuations offer a portal to access an infinity of unimagined new quantum phases of matter.

Suchitra Sebastian Headshot

About Suchitra Sebastian

Suchitra Sebastian is a Professor in Physics and EPSRC Fellow at the University of Cambridge. Her research seeks to discover exotic quantum phases of matter in complex materials. Emergent quantum phenomena studied by Suchitra's research group include high-temperature superconductivity and a new unconventional insulating state of matter they discovered. The most recent awards Suchitra has received include the New Horizons in Physics Prize (2022) awarded by the Breakthrough Foundation and the Schmidt Science Polymath award (2022). Suchitra is the founder and director of the Cavendish Arts Science programme, and co-founder of Bread Theatre and Film Company. She participates in scientific research for non-imperialistic, non-militaristic purposes.

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