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Watson Lecture on November 10: Xie Chen on Quantum Matter

On Wednesday, November 10, at 5 p.m. Pacific Time, Xie Chen, Caltech professor of theoretical physics, will continue the 2021–22 Watson Lecture season with "Quantum Matter: Why It Matters."

Quantum effects are usually thought to be too delicate to manifest in the macroscopic world. However, recent physics breakthroughs have revealed that, in carefully engineered materials, such as metals, insulators, or magnets, quantum effects not only show up but also fundamentally change the way these materials behave. In this lecture, Chen will cover superconductivity, topological order, and a range of phenomena in quantum matters that may hold unprecedented power for quantum computers and even for our fundamental understanding of the universe.

Chen, who joined the Caltech faculty in 2014, is a condensed matter theorist at the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter (IQIM) who studies quantum mechanical systems with many degrees of freedom that can give rise to unusual phenomena, including physical properties that could be useful for quantum information processing.

Watson Lectures are free and open to the public. The 2021–2022 Watson Lectures will be presented virtually on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. at Register online for this and upcoming lectures to add them to your calendar and receive email reminders.

Since 1922, The Earnest C. Watson Lectures have brought Caltech's most innovative scientific research to the public. The series is named for Earnest C. Watson, a professor of physics at Caltech from 1919 until 1959. Spotlighting a small selection of the pioneering research Caltech's professors are currently conducting, the Watson Lectures are geared toward a general audience as part of the Institute's ongoing commitment to benefiting the local community through education and outreach. Through a gift from the estate of Richard C. Biedebach, the lecture series has expanded to also highlight at least one assistant professor's research each season.

The Watson Lectures are part of the Caltech Signature Lecture Series, which offers a deep dive into the groundbreaking research and scientific breakthroughs at Caltech and JPL. For information, please visit

Register for this Watson Lecture online.

Questions? Contact the Caltech Ticket Office via email at [email protected] or leave a message at (626) 395-4652. Please allow 48 hours for a response. Reservations cannot be made over the phone or in person for the Watson Lecture Series.

Written by Andrew Moseman

Andrew Moseman