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New Faculty Fiona Burnell joins the School


Fiona Burnell is joining the School of Physics and Astronomy as an assistant professor. After receiving her bachelor's degree in physics and mathematics at the University of British Columbia, Burnell earned her doctorate in physics from Princeton University under Professor Shivaji Sondhi.

Since 2009, Burnell has been a Post-doctoral research fellow in All Souls College at Oxford University, where her work focused primarily on conceptual questions about systems exhibiting topological order.

Burnell’s principal research interest is in understanding exotic phases of matter-- phases which are not described by the conventional Landau classification based on broken symmetries. This encompasses topologically ordered phases, such as the fractional quantum Hall states, and symmetry-protected phases such as topological insulators. Her work addresses a range of topics within this sphere, ranging from abstract questions about what types of exotic phases are theoretically possible, to more concrete questions about how to identify these empirically.