Condensed matter physics seeks to explain how a hundred or so chemical elements are capable of giving rise to the fantastic diversity of the macroscopic world, and not merely 118 different kinds of goo. Of course, chemistry plays a role, but it alone cannot account for the 15 different varieties – or phases – of ice, with the familiar H2
O molecule adopting a different crystal structure in each. Condensed matter physics intercedes between chemistry and engineering (and biology, environmental science, and so on) to explain why a collection of iron atoms might be useful for building skyscrapers.
Condensed matter physicists crave new states of matter beyond the humdrum trio of solid, liquid, and gas. The lure of creating new phases, whose existence depends upon the quantum mechanical behavior of their constituent atoms, explains the excitement surrounding ultracold atomic physics, and the remarkable scientific progress achieved over the past decade.You can find a slightly longer description of recent themes in my research here. A recent CV is here.
If you'd like to discuss possible research projects with me please drop me an email, or just come by my office