Physics Colloquium: Piers Coleman, Rutgers University
Dark-Matter Challenges of the Solid State
At the turn of the 20th century, physicists faced an uncanny range of unsolved problems: simple questions, such as why hot objects change color, why matter is hard and why the sun keeps on shining, went unanswered. These problems heralded a new era of quantum physics. What was truly remarkable about discovery in this heroic era, was the intertwined nature of research in the lab and in the cosmos: solving superconductivity really did help answer why the sun keeps on shining, while looking at the stars provided clues as to why matter is hard.
The challenges facing us today, epitomized by our failure to quantize gravity and the mysteries of dark matter and energy, challenge physics to its core. But equally, physics in the lab and cosmos remain just as intertwined as they were a hundred years ago. I will discuss the less well-known dark matter challenges of the solid state, epitomized by the strange metals with linear resistivity that accompany high temperature superconductivity, the discovery of insulators with Fermi surfaces and the phenomenon of Quantum criticality. I will argue that these laboratory-scale problems challenge our fundamental understanding of emergent quantum matter in ways that are no less intertwined with their cosmological counterparts than they were a hundred years ago.
Wednesday, November 20 at 4:00pm
Higgins Hall, 310
Higgins Hall, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467