COLLOQUIUM: Environmental Condensed Matter Physics
The physics of condensed matter provides a unique perspective on materials and systems of environmental relevance. I discuss three ways in which concepts and methods of condensed matter physics bear upon the quest for a sustainable future. Electronic devices made from metal oxides may enable new approaches to renewable energy, such as diodes that operate at optical frequencies to directly convert the electromagnetic field of sunlight to current. Uranium and plutonium found in the nuclear fuel cycle call for the development of accurate methods to model strongly correlated electrons in metals and in solutions. Planetary atmospheres, oceans, and interiors of stars may also be viewed as condensed matter systems, and described statistically by methods that are inspired by quantum many-body theory. Live simulations of a model of the solar plasma, and its statistical mechanical solution, will be performed to illustrate the usefulness of this perspective.
The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory 2012-2013 Colloquium Committee is comprised of the following people. Please feel free to contact them by e-mail regarding any possible speakers or topics for future colloquia.