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superconductor levitating small cylinder

Yunker Lecture explores the dark energy of quantum materials

By Debbie Farris

Physicist Laura Greene to host the 2018 Yunker Lecture

Superconductivity is the fascinating quantum mechanical phenomenon responsible for levitating trains, lossless power transmission and sensors that can detect the tiniest magnetic field change when a proton flips.

Distinguished physicist Laura H. Greene will present the Department of Physics 2018 Yunker Lecture on “The Dark Energy of Quantum Materials" on Friday, April 20. She is the Francis Eppes Professor of Physics at Florida State University and Chief Scientist at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.

The event will be held in Weniger Hall 151 from 5:00 – 6:15 p.m. with a reception honoring Dr. Greene at 3:30 p.m. in Weniger Hall 379. The lecture and reception are free and open to the public.

Although we have known about "ordinary" superconductivity since 1911, we didn't have a theoretical explanation until 1957. High temperature superconductivity was discovered in 1986, and we still don't have a theory that explains it. In fact, there are also dozens of other types of unconventional superconductors, broadly termed "quantum materials," with no theory for any of them either!

In her talk, Greene will explore superconductivity and the bizarre behaviors of quantum materials, showing some of the exciting applications. She will explain in simple terms what we do know and offer a perspective on how much we still have to learn.

“Superconductivity reminds me of the universe itself: we use it every day, it's very useful, and mostly, we don't know very much about it!” said Greene.

Throughout her career, Greene has studied superconductivity and strongly-correlated electron systems. She was a pioneer of high-temperature superconductivity in the YBaCuO system. She has made significant contributions to the discovery of strongly correlated electron systems of heavy fermions, topological insulators and superconductors.

Greene is a member of the National Academy of Science, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and a Fellow of the American Physical Society. She is a tireless a champion for diversity and of equal rights for women and minorities.

The Yunker Lecture was established in honor Dr. Edwin Yunker, an OSU physics professor (1925-68) and chair (1949-66), by his wife, daughter and their family and friends through the years to ensure outstanding physicists presented lectures on specific areas of expertise with a general audience.

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