“In the last few years, fresh approaches have been developed to investigate these truly strange states of matter, and I like being a pioneer in a new area where you can make discoveries that haven’t been accessible before.”
- Assistant Professor at Beijing Computational Science Research Center
- IQIM Postdoctoral Scholar Alumna, September 2015
What type of research are you doing?
I work in condensed matter theory, specializing in computational simulations of strongly correlated quantum systems. What interests me are the exotic states of matter that can emerge from the strong interactions among the particles, such as electrons or ions, that make up these systems. These include high-temperature superconductors, one dimensional electron arrays, and exotic particles that have promise as elements in quantum computing. These systems have unusual characteristics, and modeling them has been a formidable problem in physics. My research involves developing simple, workable models that can improve our ability to understand and predict their properties and behavior.
What attracted you to this field?
I became interested in theory when I was an undergraduate at Zhejiang University in China. I liked the fact that as a theorist you can work independently, and I found using numerical methods and computational simulations to work through problems very satisfying. Also, like many physicists who go into theory, I never felt I was too good with laboratory equipment, so that seemed to rule out experimental physics! In graduate school I decided to focus on strongly correlated systems in condensed matter theory because it was a new field with a lot of potential for doing original work. In the last few years, fresh approaches have been developed to investigate these truly strange states of matter, and I like being a pioneer in a new area where you can make discoveries that haven’t been accessible before.
What do you do when you’re not doing physics?
As a fulltime researcher and a new mom, I don’t have a great deal of free time. I like exercising and being active—playing badminton and hiking—and being with close friends. While I was a postdoc at the University of Vienna, I became interested in the opera and was able to attend performances often because of the special discounts they offer to students. It’s a classic and accessible art form that I enjoy very much and which allows me to relax.