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

Just presented at the Annual Meeting of the Physical Society of Taiwan

I just presented a talk “Quenching to field-stabilized magnetization plateaus in the unfrustrated Ising antiferromagnet” based on my preprint that I posted on arXiv last week at the Annual Meeting of the Physical Society of Taiwan at National Pingtung University in Pingtung, Taiwan. I haven’t gotten around to making a post about this paper yet (that is coming soon), but in the meantime I will post my slides from this talk here. My slides included some movies of the process of freezing in to magnetization plateaus. Since PDFs can’t include movies I will post the movies below.

Gif of Ising spin configurations arriving at a frozen plateau state.
The spin configuration over time starting from a random (T=∞) state and doing single spin flip Metropolis updates at T=0 and h=1 until we arrive at a final frozen state. Individual spin states are denoted by the (+) and (-); the background shading shows which of the antiferromagnetic ground states each site is in. In the final frozen state the domain walls are all straight lines or corners with (+) on the inside.

Gif of Ising spin configurations arriving at a frozen plateau state.
The spin configuration over time starting from a random (T=∞) state and doing single spin flip Metropolis updates at T=0 and h=3 until we arrive at a final frozen state. Individual spin states are denoted by the (+) and (-); the background shading shows which of the antiferromagnetic ground states each site is in. In the final frozen state the domain walls are all diagonal or square-wave-like with excess (+) spin.

APS Congressional Visit Day 2020

APS Congressional Visit Day 2020

This week, I am in Washington DC for the APS Congressional Visit Day and Annual Leadership Meeting. We started on Wednesday with the Congressional Visit. APS broke us up into teams by region. I’m a Massachusetts voter, so I joined a team of people from Massachusetts and Connecticut. We had six meetings with the offices of Massachusetts Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, Connecticut Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal along with House Representatives James Himes and Rosa DeLauro.

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Women are no better or worse than men at doing physics, but they are, however, more persistent.

Myriam P. Sarachik, 2020

Today I attended an awards dinner for several APS awards. Myriam P. Sarachik received the APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research and gave a truly insightful acceptance speech and I just had to share this specific quote. She told a number of stories of the obstacles she faced to building a scientific career and how she overcame them through luck, talent and persistence. A great lesson for us all!