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Virasoro International Chair

Subir Sachdev has been named Miguel Virasoro Visiting International Chair
Virasoro International Chair

Subir Sachdev, Herchel Smith Professor of Physics at Harvard University, is the first holder of the Miguel Virasoro Visiting International Chair, which ICTP is launching in 2024. The Chair is hosted in ICTP's Condensed Matter and Statistical Physics section.

Sachdev is a condensed matter physicist who has made important contributions to the understanding of entangled states of quantum matter. He is originally from India, where he studied for one year at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, before moving to the United States in 1979. He holds a Bachelor of Science obtained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Master of Art in Physics and a PhD in Theoretical Physics from Harvard University. He worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Bell Laboratories before joining Yale University from 1987 until 2005, when he moved to Harvard University. 

Sachdev has made multiple seminal contributions in many areas of condensed matter physics. The development of the theory of quantum critical phenomena in insulators, superconductors and metals; the theory of spin-liquid states of quantum antiferromagnets and the theory of fractionalized phases of matter; the study of novel deconfinement phase transitions; the theory of quantum matter without quasiparticles are just a few of his most important contributions. He also delved into the deep connection between condensed matter and gravity, by applying some of his ideas to black-hole physics, including a concrete model of non-Fermi liquids, or, viceversa, by drawing upon the physics of gravity to get a better understanding of condensed matter, which led to Sachdev–Ye–Kitaev (SYK) model for strange metals.

I am deeply honored by the Virasoro Chair appointment, and look forward to being a part of the excellent scientific community at ICTP.
-- Subir Sachdev

This new Chair is named after Argentinian-Italian physicist Miguel Virasoro, a pioneer of string theory who also made important contributions to mathematical and statistical physics and was the director of ICTP between 1995 and 2002. Virasoro has made long-lasting contributions to string theory at the early stages of his career, notably the Virasoro algebra, and later expanded his scientific horizon to encompass other fields of theoretical physics, especially statistical physics.

Like Virasoro, Sachdev has had a long and deep relationship with ICTP. He was a member of the ICTP Scientific Council for many years and in 2014 he gave a series of four Salam Distinguished Lectures entitled “Theory of Quantum Matter: From Quantum Fields to Strings”. In 2018, he was awarded the Dirac Medal alongside Dam Thanh Son (University of Chicago) and Xiao-Gang Wen (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) “for their independent contributions towards understanding novel phases in strongly interacting many-body systems, introducing original transdisciplinary techniques.”

“I am deeply honored by the Virasoro Chair appointment, and look forward to being a part of the excellent scientific community at ICTP,” Sachdev commented. Being the holder of the Miguel Virasoro Visiting International Chair will give him more occasions to take part in the life of ICTP and to contribute to the scientific dialogue that takes place at the Centre. “Prof. Sachdev gave fundamental contributions to physics. It is a great opportunity for the ICTP community and, in particular for the CMSP Section to have him as a Virasoro chair,” Rosario Fazio, head of ICTP’s CMSP section, explains. “We will all benefit from his insights and his profound knowledge,” he concludes.

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