Four new Perimeter Distinguished Visiting Research Chairs (DVRCs) in 2012

2012 has been a good year for Perimeter Institute’s Distinguished Visiting Research Chairs (DVRC) program (formerly known as the DRC program). Four eminent scientists – Adrian Kent (University of Cambridge), Ramesh Narayan (Harvard University), Ashvin Vishwanath (University of California, Berkeley), and Steven White (University of California, Irvine) – have accepted DVRC appointments and an additional 11 have renewed their terms through 2015.

Started in late 2008, Perimeter’s unique Distinguished Visiting Research Chair program offers a second research home to some of the world’s leading physicists. While retaining permanent positions at their home institutions, DVRCs visit the Institute for extended periods each year, becoming a part of Perimeter’s community in all respects: conducting research, collaborating with colleagues, organizing conferences, teaching in the Perimeter Scholars International master’s program, and contributing to outreach programs. Perimeter currently has 25 DVRCs from across the entire spectrum of theoretical physics, appointed to three-year renewable terms. In 2012, in addition to the four new DVRCs highlighted below, 11 existing DVRCs accepted three-year renewals: Yakir AharonovNima Arkani-HamedIgnacio CiracStephen HawkingPatrick HaydenLeo KadanoffRenate LollSubir SachdevLeonard SusskindBill Unruh, and Mark Wise.


Adrian Kent (PhD Cambridge, 1996) is a Reader in Quantum Physics with the University of Cambridge. He has previously held positions as an Enrico Fermi postdoctoral fellow at the University of Chicago, a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, and a Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge. Prior to becoming a DVRC, Kent was an Associate Faculty member at Perimeter Institute. His research focuses on the foundations of physics, quantum cryptography, and quantum information theory, including the physics of decoherence, novel tests of quantum theory and alternative theories, and new applications of quantum information.

Ramesh Narayan (PhD Bangalore, 1979) is the Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences at Harvard University. He is an astrophysicist who has won international renown for his research on black holes. Narayan has also carried out research in a number of other areas of theoretical astrophysics, including accretion disks, gravitational lensing, gamma-ray bursts, and neutron stars. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society (London), a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the International Astronomical Union and the American Astronomical Society.

Ashvin Vishwanath (PhD Princeton, 2001) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of California, Berkeley. His primary field is condensed matter theory, with a focus on magnetism, superconductivity, and other correlated quantum phenomena in solids and cold atomic gases. Vishwanath is particularly interested in novel phenomena, such as topological phases of matter, non-fermi liquids, and quantum spin liquids. He has recently been interested in realizing Majorana and Weyl fermions in solids and in using concepts from quantum information, such as entanglement entropy, to characterize novel phases of matter. His past honours include a Sloan Research Fellowship (2004), the CAREER Award of the National Science Foundation (2007), the Outstanding Young Scientist Award of the American Chapter of Indian Physicists (2010), and the Simons Foundation Sabbatical Fellowship (2012).

Steven White (PhD Cornell, 1988) is a Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of California, Irvine. His primary research concerns condensed matter theory with an emphasis on numerical approaches for strongly correlated magnetic and superconducting systems. In 1992, White invented the density matrix renormalization group (DMRG), a numerical variation technique for high accuracy calculations of the low energy physics of quantum many body systems. For his efforts, White has been recognized as a Fellow of the American Physical Society (1998) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2008). In 2003, he won the Aneesur Rahman Prize, the highest honour in the field of computational physics given by the American Physical Society.

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