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Quantum meets classical

Summer College reviewed latest experiments and theories in nonequilibrium physics

A new frontier was explored at the “College on Nonequilibrium Physics from Classical to Quantum Low Dimensional System”, organised by ICTP's Condensed Matter and Statistical Physics (CMSP) section.

An experimental breakthrough in 1995—producing the ultracold atoms that conformed to the theoretically predicted properties of the Bose-Einstein condensate—made it possible for researchers to fabricate systems with cold atoms. This also meant that researchers from the field of nonequilibrium quantum physics needed fresh tools to manipulate the systems and had to reconcile new concepts with some of the older concepts from nonequilibrium classical physics.

The ICTP-hosted College, which ran from 6 to 24 July, brought together physicists from the fields of classical and quantum nonequilibrium physics.

“This was perhaps the first activity of its kind where the two communities came together on one platform to exchange ideas,” says Dr. Alessandro Silva, one of the organisers from ICTP’s CMSP section.

The College had over 200 participants, including students and researchers, theorists and experimentalists, from around the world. “The speakers were leading experts in non-equilibrium physics,” says Silva.

“In order to understand correlated systems, quantum physics needs to borrow some of the tools developed to describe classical physics,” says Silva. “At this College we tried to develop a common language to describe both quantum physics out of equilibrium and nonequilibrium classical physics.”


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