Every now and then, an area of research becomes so promising and complex, that coordinating the efforts of individual researchers accelerates progress towards groundbreaking discoveries. In that light, the Division of Physics at the National Science Foundation introduced the Physics Frontiers Centers to tap into the collective intelligence and skills of, otherwise, autonomous research groups.

Chalkboard outside Annenberg

Outside the Annenberg Center for Information Science and Technology. Photo by L. Hayashida.

The Institute for Quantum Information and Matter (IQIM) at Caltech is the newest Physics Frontiers Center supported by the National Science Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Here at IQIM, we study physical systems in which the weirdness of the quantum world becomes manifest on macroscopic scales. Our work spans a wide range of cutting edge research, from superconductivity and nanotechnology, to exotic phases of matter and quantum computation!

As a Physics Frontiers Center, we are tasked with moving science forward, often against seemingly insurmountable obstacles. From the outside, the progress we make resembles sudden bursts of genius. But real science is much more than a series of Eureka! moments strung together. Through personal accounts highlighting the experimental and theoretical progress here at IQIM, we plan to take you on a behind-the-scenes tour of the fascinating research we get to do everyday…