# Vaibhav Sharma, Postdoctoral Fellow in Physics

Rice University

Current research interest

My research interest is in theoretical physics, studying dynamics of quantum many-body systems, particularly in cold atom and qubit based quantum simulators . I use analytical and numerical calculations with the aim of extracting the simple emergent physical features of such quantum systems. Currently, I am working on studying dynamical phenomena in simple lattice gauge theories that can be implemented on quantum simulators. I am also interested in understanding multipartite entanglement in highly-entangled quantum states generated in random quantum circuits.

Brief bio

I am a postdoctoral researcher at Rice University in the Rice Academy of junior fellows in the Smalley-Curl Institute. My academic advisor is Prof. Kaden Hazzard. In 2024, I completed my PhD in physics at Cornell University working with my advisor, Prof. Erich Mueller. Before my PhD, I did my masters in physics from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, India from 2016-2018. I earned my undergrad degree in mechanical engineering from Delhi Technological University, India from 2012-2016.

Outside physics, I like to travel, hike and play sports like tennis, squash and badminton. I enjoy cooking and leasure reading.

Email: vaibhavsharma@rice.edu

My research in non-technical language

I am a theoretical physics researcher. This means that I do mathematical calculations (typically on a computer) to understand the physics of a system. I study systems where the individual particles or constituents are best described by the laws of quantum mechanics as opposed to Newton's laws of motion. As an example, I often study the behavior of a collection of atoms that have been cooled down to almost absolute zero temperature. At these temperatures, the ultracold atoms behave more like waves rather than particles.

Although we can often easily understand the quantum mechanical behavior of a single atom easily using the Schrodinger equation, the situation changes once we have a collection of such atoms that also interact with each other. The underlying behavior of these systems becomes markedly different and very difficult to predict with just the understanding of single particle behavior. In my research, I try to understand the physics of such many-body (collection of particles) systems. I use analytical and numerical calculations to come with simple explanations of the exotic phenomena that can occur in such systems.

As an example, I studied how a collection of ultracold atoms behave when they are spun around. I give a simple explanation in this three minute video as part of the 2022 Cornell three minute thesis competition.