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Wilczek in Stockholm

Frank spends several months a year based in Stockholm, where he is Professor at Stockholm University and at Nordita. His activity in Sweden is supported by generous grants from the Swedish Research Council (VR) and the European Research Council (ERC).

Frank supports young researchers whose interests overlap with his. There are active plans, in particular, for a major initiative in axion physics.

The annual “Quantum Connections in Sweden” conferences, which he sponsors, bring together leading scientists from around the world to discuss cutting-edge progress in quantum information theory, quantum optics, cold atoms and condensed matter.

Frank’s wife Betsy Devine is a guest curator at the Nobel Museum, where she leads the Feynman project. Frank has helped to organize several Nobel Symposia, and participated in Nobel Week Dialogues. He is on the Science Advisory Board of the Wallenberg Foundation, and is active in the Tycho Brahe Foundation. He is also a member of The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (Kungl.Vetenskaps. Akademien)

The Nobel laureate who got hooked on Stockholm

In 2008 Frank and his wife, Betsy Devine, came to Stockholm to devote a semester to research at the physics institute Nordita. The couple loved Stockholm and Frank started working together with a number of researchers at Nordita and the Department of physics. When the Swedish Research Council announced a new grant for Swedish universities to recruit top international researchers, both Frank and Stockholm University jumped on board. The funds were approved and Frank Wilczek is one of four professors that the Department of physics recruited.

It's easy childhood interest in mathematics and technology took Frank Wilczek all the way to a Nobel Prize. Now spends a large fraction of his time in Sweden where, among other pursuits, he is trying to crack the secret of dark matter.

His 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics made Frank Wilczek one of the most recognized researchers in the world, even outside of his field. Now spends a large fraction of his time as professor in theoretical physicist at Stockholm University at the Department of Physics and the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics. The position, made possible by a grant from the Swedish Research Council, makes it possible for him to spend a considerable part of his time at Stockholm University.

Attractive research environment - and city.

Frank Wilczek likes the environment of the Department of physics and Stockholm in general.

“The Albanova building is extremely attractive, that’s a pleasure to inhabit.”

There are several groups of interest to him (e.g. cosmology, condensed matter) which have regular informal meetings, journal clubs, and seminar series.

“Nearby is Nordita, where I’ve also got an office. It has lots of high-level scientific activity.”

He also appreciates that the university is a green space in the city.

“Betsy and I love Stockholm! The water, the size, the cosmopolitan feel, the safety, the long sightlines across Saltsjö Bay and the great public spaces. I’ve never seen so many happy families in my life.”

The couple live in Östermalm within walking distance of his job. “I’ve got to get my 10,000 steps a day! And it’s so near the amusement park Gröna Lund that I’ve been able to go there several times.”

Axions - what “dark matter” is made of?

There are three major areas of research that Frank Wilczek will focus on when he is in Stockholm. Anyons are a new kind of emergent particle, realized within suitable materials, that may soon support new kinds of devices, including quantum computers. He is thinking about new ways to create anyons, and new ways to use them. Axions, on the other hand, may well be what that “dark matter” is made of.

He is hoping to refine the theoretical understanding of axions and their role in cosmology, and to facilitate their experimental exploration. (Frank Wilczek named both anyons and axions, and pioneered these subjects, which have become significant branches of physics.) He is also exploring the peculiarities that quantum theory introduces into the notion of time and history, and methods to make those aspects useful. Other important tasks will be to organise conferences and workshops and inviting international researchers. Additionally, he will work with larger research applications and participate in research seminars and lectures series on theoretical physics.

Quantum Connections 2017:

A week of workshops at the frontiers of quantum physics. Hosted by Frank Wilczek in collaboration with Stockholm University, Nordita, T.D. Lee Institute and Wilczek Quantum Center, both at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

This get-together is rather different from most conferences. It is meant to focus on ongoing research, to bring out connections between adjacent but distinct fields, and to foster collaboration that otherwise might not occur. As one consequence, there is unusual diversity in the audience. You can read more here: Quantum Connections 2017.

Quantum Connections 2017

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