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The 8th Lecture : The physics of superconducting transition temperatures

Stanford University, USA


Professor Steven Kivelson obtained his Ph. D. in 1979 from the Harvard University. Prof. Kivelson was elected as Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001 and as Member of National Academy of Sciences in 2010. He was awarded John Bardeen Prize in 2012. Now he is the Prabhu Goel Family Professor of Physics and Principal Investigator in the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences at the Stanford University. The main thrust of the research carried out by Professor Kivelson is the search for theoretical characterization of qualitatively new behaviors of interacting electrons (i.e., new states of matter) as well as new regimes of parameters in which familiar states of matter behave in new and different ways. In particular, he seeks to explore; qualitatively... the relation between the microscopic interactions between electrons and the effective parameters that control the macroscopic behavior of solids.


Weakly interacting electrons are metallic, while strong enough interactions generically lead to insulating spin and charge ordered phases. High temperature superconductivity occurs as a crossover phenomenon where there is a maximal degree of “quantum frustration” – i.e. where structure in real-space and momentum space are equally important. Entirely new considerations govern the physic of the superconducting transition temperature when, in contrast to the case in “conventional” superconductors, Tc is not all that small compared to microscopic scales. Mechanisms of unconventional superconducting pairing, the role of superconducting phase fluctuations and an inhomogeneous response to disorder, will be discussed, both abstractly, and using the cuprate high temperature superconductors as an illustrative example.