HMC Physics Colloquium

Tuesdays at 16:30 in Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning, Room B460

Vedika Khemani

Harvard University

Quantum Matter Out of Equilibrium

April 30, 2019

Statistical mechanics is one of the foundational pillars of modern physics. At its core is the idea of thermal equilibrium, which allows for a simple description of a many-particle system in terms of a few macroscopic, equilibrium properties like temperature or pressure. Although many of the fundamentals of quantum statistical mechanics were formulated almost a century ago, recent developments have motivated a rebirth of this subject.
In this talk, I will discuss some recent advances in our understanding of quantum statistical mechanics, focusing in particular on settings in which systems fail to reach thermal equilibrium.  This out-of-equilibrium setting can allow for novel phases of matter which are disallowed by the usual rules of statistical mechanics. This includes the recent discovery of time-crystals as a new out-of-equilibrium phase of matter, and I'll describe our work in predicting and creating these time-crystalline phases.