Humboldt Research Awards
The Humboldt Research Award, administered by the Humboldt Foundation, is conferred on established investigators from abroad to enable them to undertake collaborative projects with designated colleagues in Germany. Among the latest awardees are the Hungarian physicist Örs Legeza and his American colleague Dan Stamper-Kurn, who will carry out their projects in cooperation with members of LMU’s Faculty of Physics. Legeza’s host is Professor Ulrich Schollwöck (Chair of Theoretical Nanophysics), while Stamper-Kurn will work with Professor Immanuel Bloch (who holds a Chair in Experimental Physics at LMU and is a Director at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics).
Örs Legeza is based in the Wigner Institute at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest, and is a pioneer in the application of tensor network algorithms to quantum information theory. The term ‘tensor networks’ refers to a set of mathematical tools, which provide an efficient approximation of certain classes of quantum states and are therefore of great interest in the field of quantum physics. For example, they can be applied to systems of strongly correlated molecules that are not amenable to the approaches conventionally used in quantum chemistry. In association with Professor Schollwöck’s group, Legeza plans to develop tensor network methods further, with a view to finding ways of combining them with established quantum chemical methods in order to understand the quantum dynamics of large molecules.
Professor Örs Legeza studied at Ohio State University, Eötvös Loránd University and the Hungarian University of Technology (both in Budapest), where he obtained his doctorate in Theoretical Physics. He joined the Institute for Theoretical Solid-State Physics and Optics in the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1997. In 2017, he was appointed to lead a research group in Strongly Correlated Systems at the Wigner-Institute.
Experimental physicist Dan Stamper-Kurn (University of California and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) uses ultracold quantum gases as models to study fundamental aspects of condensed-matter, atomic and quantum physics. His research group investigates the properties of quantum gases in geometrically frustrated optical lattices, as well as problems in quantum electrodynamics and the dynamics of spinor Bose-Einstein condensates that are far from equilibrium.
Professor Dan Stamper-Kurn obtained his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge in 1999. Following a stint as a postdoc at Caltech in Pasadena, he moved to the University of California at Berkeley, where he is now Professor of Physics. He is also affiliated with the Materials Sciences Division at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and heads the Science Definition team of the Bose-Einstein Condensation Cold Atom Laboratory (BECCAL) – a collaborative endeavor of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and NASA that aims to conduct quantum gas experiments aboard the International space Station (ISS).