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Aspen Public Radio is proud to present select lectures, discussions, and conversations from area events and festivals, thanks to a remarkable collection of community partners. Click here to view the full archive. Events are recorded at no cost to the partner and archived here online; select recordings are broadcast on Aspen Public Radio Sunday nights at 7 p.m.

Aspen Center for Physics: Suchitra Sebastian

This event was recorded on July 12, 2023 at Aspen Center for Physics during the 2023 DeWolf Foundation Physics Talks, in partnership with Aspen Public Radio.

In this talk, Professor Suchitra Sebastian explores the fascinating class of quantum materials, where surprising and unpredictable collective phenomena emerge from interactions between trillion trillions (10^23) of electrons, as many as the stars in the observable universe. Superconductivity is one such striking quantum phenomenon, in which electrons collectively self-organize to conduct electricity perfectly without loss, with important sustainable energy applications. Suchitra discusses experimental approaches to tackle the challenge of discovering new and more exotic quantum phases of matter. She introduces an experimental design she terms 'quantum alchemy', by which she searches for novel phases of matter at quantum phase boundaries. Here, large quantum fluctuations offer a portal to access an infinity of unimagined new quantum phases of matter.


Suchitra Sebastian is Professor in Physics and EPSRC Fellow at the University of Cambridge. Her research seeks to discover exotic quantum phases of matter in complex materials. Emergent quantum phenomena studied by Suchitra's research group include high-temperature superconductivity and a new unconventional insulating state of matter they discovered. Most recent awards Suchitra has received for her research include the New Horizons in Physics Prize (2022) awarded by the Breakthrough Foundation and the Schmidt Science Polymath award (2022). Suchitra is founder director of the Cavendish Arts Science programme, and co-founder of Bread Theatre and Film Company. She participates in scientific research for non-imperialistic, non-militaristic purposes.