Physics and Astronomy Colloquium

Week of Monday, September 24th 2018


Monday, September 24th 2018
Speaker: Natalia Perkins, University of Minnesota
Subject: The pursuit of Majorana fermions in Kitaev materials
Refreshments in atrium after the Colloquium.

The 1937 theoretical discovery of Majorana fermions has since impacted diverse problems ranging from neutrino physics and dark matter searches to fractional quantum Hall effect, superconductivity and quantum spin liquids (QSLs). In my talk I will focus on the hunting for Majorana fermions in Kitaev materials, which believe to harbor a variety of QSLs. These Kitaev QSLs exhibit two types of fractionalized quasiparticle excitations - itinerant Majorana fermions and gapped Z2 fluxes. In recent years, a remarkable theoretical and experimental progress has been achieved in understanding that these fractionalized quasiparticles and, in particular, Majorana fermions can be effectively probed by conventional spectroscopic techniques such as inelastic neutron scattering, Raman scattering with visible light, and resonant inelastic X-ray scattering.


Thursday, September 27th 2018
3:35 pm:
Physics and Astronomy Colloquium in Physics Tate B50
Speaker: Raymond Jeanloz, UC Berkeley
Subject: Pressure as a Probe for Atoms, Molecules and Planets
Refreshments in atrium after the Colloquium

Experiments using diamond anvils and the largest lasers in the world can exceed the atomic unit of pressure, profoundly changing the nature of atom structure and chemical bonding. Laboratory studies of the metallic hydrogen and helium that dominate large-planet (Jupiter, Saturn) and stellar interiors, and of new forms of ice that comprise icy giant planets (Neptune, Uranus), are complemented by experiments converting simple metals into ionic salts and taking elements to the statistical-atom (Thomas-Fermi-Dirac) regime. Interesting in their own right, and as validation of first-principles quantum simulations, these experiments also inform us about the origins and evolution of planets.

Faculty Host: Cynthia Cattell

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