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The Fascinating, Weird World of Quantum Matter: Karen Hallberg live webcast

Watch the live webcast on this page on Wednesday, December 2 at 7 pm ET.

When atoms are combined to form a solid, new physical phenomena arise which cannot be predicted from an understanding of the physical properties of their individual constituents. This is known as emergent behaviour. It means, essentially, that the whole is different than the sum of its parts.

In physics, the reduction of a problem to fundamental laws at a smaller scale does not imply the validity of the inverse methodology. You cannot simply reconstruct the laws of physics at larger scales from more fundamental ones. At each level of complexity, the underlying physics is as fundamental as at any other one.

This is particularly relevant in materials with strongly interacting electrons in which many-body physics plays a major role. It is crucial in our understanding of interesting emergent phenomena such as superconductivity and magnetism, as well as quasiparticles, colossal magnetoresistance, surprising metal-insulator transitions, and more.

Owing to the many variables and states involved, these systems are among the most complex problems we face today. To confront them, we must employ advanced computational techniques based on an understanding of quantum information that was out of reach just a decade ago.

Karen Hallberg is an expert in quantum condensed matter physics, who has developed state-of-the-art computational approaches to understanding nanoscopic systems and new materials. She is a professor of physics at the Balseiro Institute and Research Director of the Bariloche Atomic Center, both in her native Argentina.

Among Hallberg’s many honours, she was awarded the 2019 L’Oreal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science, which recognizes five outstanding international scientists annually. She has been a strong advocate for ethics in science, as well as the field’s inclusion of women and other historically disadvantaged groups.

In her December 2 Perimeter Public Lecture webcast, Hallberg will explore examples of emergent phenomena and demonstrate how we can tackle these problems using quantum information to filter the most relevant data. By advancing research in this field, we hope to seed advances with applications from medical equipment and new materials to efficient energy generation, transportation, and storage.

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