On August 26, 2021, The Society Of Physics hosted an online lecture by Dr. Subir Sachdev, Herschel Smith Professor of Physics at Harvard University. He is a famous theoretical condensed matter physicist known for his work at the frontiers of systems near quantum phase transitions and the nature of quantum entanglement for many particle states. Dr. Sachdev did his schooling in Bangalore, his S.B. (Bachelor of Science) in physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his Masters and PhD from Harvard University. He has been the recipient of many awards, foremost among them are the Dirac medal and the Lars Onsager prize. Here are some highlights from his lecture.
Newton’s laws are the foundation of classical physics, he was the first to realize that these applied on a vast scale - from the orbits of planets down to everyday life. But in the 20th century, it was discovered that these laws were not applicable to atoms. This was an altogether bizarre realm whose rules were first uncovered by Schrodinger and Heisenberg around 1925. The quantum picture of matter proved crucial in understanding why the elements in the periodic table behave the way they do. Specifically, the properties of metals such as their shiny surface, good thermal and electrical conductivity were finally explained by the interactions of their electrons.