Rest in peace Phil Anderson, a giant on whose shoulders we stand

On Sunday March 29, Philip W. Anderson passed away.  Anderson is doubtlessly one of the greatest condensed matter physicists who ever lived.

Anderson made foundational discoveries in localization, high-temperature superconductivity and antiferromagnetism. Indeed, his achievements stretch beyond condensed matter; his work on spontaneous symmetry breaking contributed to development of the Standard Model of particle physics. I’m sure many more competent people will eulogize him, but I wanted share one specific personal connection I have to his work.

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Link

I put together a collection of links and resources for how to stay safe and sane during the pandemic as a page on my website. I thought these were important to share, but I didn’t want to post them individually. I plan to update that page, so if you have suggestions for things to add, please let me know.

Spinons: what are they and what do they do?

Updated 2020-03-22

One problem with scientific publishing is that the most up-to-date information about a topic is spread out across numerous extremely technical journal articles, none of which explains the concept from scratch. In response to a request from a friend (see previous post), I thought I would take a little time to try to answer the question: “what is a spinon?”

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Rep. James Himes

CVD success: Rep. Himes co-sponsors the Keep STEM Talent Act!

For the APS Congressional Visit Day last month, my team visited the DC office of Representative Jim Himes (D-CT-04) to advocate for a number of issues important to science (see previous post). One of our asks was for Rep. Himes to cosponsor the Keep STEM Talent Act. I just heard that Rep. Himes is now a cosponsor! Thanks so much to my CVD team, to Rep. Himes and to the staffer we met with, Jessica Hagens-Jordan!

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Join the new APS Forum on Diversity and Inclusion!

APS has a new forum dedicated to diversity and inclusion (announcement). This has been in the works for a while, but it’s finally approved and ready to join (for free for APS members). Join now to get in on the ground floor! Below I am copying the email I received with more details and signup instructions (sorry if the formatting is weird).

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NIH is experimenting with ‘cluster hiring’ in an attempt to boost diversity

In this week’s issue of Science they cover a new pilot program by NIH called FIRST that will fund ‘cluster hiring’, where a department hires 10 or more faculty in 1-2 years. The idea is that this will help cast a wider net and yield more junior faculty from underrepresented groups.

I can see how hiring in larger cohorts could make it easier to detect if there are biases, since have a cohort of 10 white men would set of alarm bells. Cluster hiring is unproven, but it’s promising and I’m very much looking forward to seeing what comes out of the pilot program.

Here’s the article (paywall): Science: NIH hopes ‘cluster hiring’ will improve diversity