IAS Distinguished Lecture

The Second Quantum Revolution: A Unification of Matter and Information


Physics, in particular, condensed matter physics, is a very old field. Many people are thinking that the exciting time of physics has passed, and we enter the beginning of the end of physics. The only important thing in physics is its engineering applications. However, the speaker feels that the scientists only see the end of the beginning. The exciting time is still ahead. In particular, now is a very exciting time in physics, like 1900 - 1930. The scientists are seeing/making the second quantum revolution which unifies information, matter and geometry. In this lecture, the speaker will describe the previous four revolutions in physics: mechanical revolution, electromagnetic revolution, general relativity revolution, and quantum revolution, as well as the fifth revolution (i.e., the second quantum revolution) which unify matter and information. Each revolution unifies seemingly unrelated phenomena. Each revolution requires new mathematics to describe the new theory. Each revolution changes our view of the world.


About the speaker

Prof. Wen Xiaogang received his BS in Physics from the University of Science and Technology of China in 1982 and his PhD in Physics from Princeton University in 1987. He joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1991 and is currently the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics.

Prof. Wen’s research focuses on condensed matter theory. He introduced the notion of topological order and quantum order to describe a new class of matter states. This opens up a new research direction in condensed matter physics. He also proposed a special class of topological order: non-Abelian quantum Hall states. Prof Wen was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society (2002) and a Sloan Research Fellow of Alfred P Sloan Foundation (1992). He was also awarded the Oliver E Buckley Condensed Matter Prize by the American Physical Society (2016).


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