Tom Jackson, Condensed matter theory
I’m a postdoc working with Prof. Rahul Roy on issues related to the role of interactions and/or disorder in topological insulators. Current and past research interests include
- Extending the current theory of the fractional quantum Hall effect to fractional Chern insulators by incorporating geometric degrees of freedom.
- Combinatorial models for the algebraic structure of conformal field theories and applications to conformal block wavefunctions for the fractional quantum Hall effect.
- The uses of quantum mechanical entanglement for characterizing many-body wavefunctions: entanglement spectrum and multipartite generalizations of the von Neumann entropy.
- New perspectives on the statistical mechanics of systems with quenched randomess: in particular, spin glasses (both classical and quantum) and their relationship to combinatorial optimization problems.
More broadly, I switched fields from astronomy to condensed matter physics because “more is different”: strongly interacting many-body systems represent a complexity frontier that, unlike other frontiers of physics, is a boundary set purely by our theoretical knowledge rather than technological capabilities. The sort of research I aspire to do addresses this problem through novel applications of mathematical techniques: my goal is to not merely perform computations, but to introduce new tools that provide a fresh perspective on established areas of study.CV (PDF download)