"An Ultracold Atom Perspective on Many-body Quantum Dynamics"

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Date/Time:Thursday, 24 Jan 2013 from 4:10 pm to 5:00 pm
Location:Physics 0003
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David Pekker (California Institute of Technology)


Understanding strongly interacting many-electron systems, and especially their dynamics, has been a long standing puzzle in the physics community. Recent progress in ultra-cold atom experiments has shed a new light on these long standing problems. Motivated by these experiments, we investigate two dynamic problems with fermionic atoms. First, we look at the creation and decay of double occupancies in optical lattices filled with strongly repelling Fermions. This problem is of interest to both solar cell and high Tc superconductor research. Second, we look at the competition between ferromagnetism and pairing following a rapid quench of a weakly interacting Fermi sea into the strongly repulsive regime and thereby resolve an experimental mystery. Finally, we propose a new method for describing dynamics of strongly disordered systems in presence of strong interactions.


I was born in Volkhov, near St. Petersburg, Russia. Shortly thereafter, my parents moved to Novosibirsk, a scientific town in south central Siberia, where my father worked as plasma physicist and my mother as a meteorologist. In 1991, my family immigrated to the United States. We first moved to Saint Paul, Minnesota, and shortly thereafter to Austin, Texas. After finishing High School in Austin I went to Rice University in Houston, Texas, for my undergraduate studies in Physics and Math. My physics research career started at the University of Bristol with Prof. James Annett, where I spent a semester abroad during my junior year. I did my PhD at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign with Prof. Paul Goldbart. I then went on to a postdoc at Harvard with Prof. Eugene Demler. Currently I am a Lee A. DuBridge postdoctoral fellow at Caltech, where I work with Prof. Refael.