55th Cherwell-Simon Memorial Lecture 2015

Date: 
15 May 2015 - 4:30pm to 5:30pm
Venue: 
Martin Wood Complex, Department of Physics, University of Oxford, Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PU
Room: 
Martin Wood Lecture Theatre
Audience: 
General public (Age 14+)

Professor Charles Kane, Class of 1965 Endowed Term Chair & Professor of Physics, University of Pennsylvania will deliver the 55th Cherwell-Simon Lecture.

Title
Topological Boundary Modes from Quantum Electronics to Classical Mechanics

Abstract:
Over the past several years, our understanding of topological electronic phases of matter has advanced dramatically. A paradigm that has emerged is that insulating electronic states with an energy gap fall into distinct topological classes. Interfaces between different topological phases exhibit gapless conducting states that are protected topologically and are impossible to get rid of. In this talk we will discuss the application of this idea to the quantum Hall effect, topological insulators, topological superconductors and the quest for Majorana fermions in condensed matter. We will then show that similar ideas arise in a completely different class of problems. Isostatic lattices are arrays of masses and springs that are at the verge of mechanical instability. They play an important role in our understanding of granular matter, glasses and other 'soft' systems. Depending on their geometry, they can exhibit zero-frequency 'floppy' modes localized on their boundaries that are insensitive to local perturbations. The mathematical relation between this classical system and quantum electronic systems reveals an unexpected connection between theories of hard and soft matter.

For more information contact: 

Olivia Hawkes, Condensed Matter Physics
T: 01865 272225
E: olivia.hawkes@physics.ox.ac.uk