Competition: US & Canada
University of California, Berkeley
Ashvin Vishwanath is a theoretical physicist who studies fundamental aspects of quantum systems composed of many interacting particles, such as electrons in solids and atomic gases at low temperatures. His contributions include identifying the key role played by “hedgehog” configurations in certain phase transitions, the peculiar properties of crystalline defects in topological insulators, and elucidating the properties of “Weyl semimetals,” which helped launch the field of topological semimetals. His other interests include skyrmion crystals in metallic magnets and the iron pnictide high temperature superconductors. He has also contributed to several interdisciplinary collaborations, including the design of a fast microfluidic mixer to study protein folding, an early paper on “quantum walks” and the emergence of supersymmetry in certain condensed-matter systems. His current research focuses on strongly interacting topological phases and the application of ideas from quantum information to the study of many particle systems.
Ashvin grew up in Bangalore, India, and completed his undergraduate education at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He moved to Princeton University for his Ph.D., following which he was appointed a Pappalardo Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT. Since 2004 he has been on the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is currently professor of physics. He also holds a Distinguished Visiting Research Chair at Perimeter Institute, and was elected an APS Fellow in 2014.