Vaibhav Sharma, Physics PhD Student
              Cornell University

Current research interest

My research interest is in theoretical physics, studying both equilibrium and non-equilbrium quantum many-body systems. I use analytical and numerical calculations with the aim of extracting the simple emergent physical features of such quantum systems. My experience lies in analyzing ultracold atomic systems and quantum circuits. In my recent research projects, I studied time evolution of non equilibrium states for preparing special quantum states like the topologically ordered AKLT state and a lowest Landau level state. I have also worked on studying the quantum order and entanglement properties in quantum circuits with random measurements. 

Brief bio

I am currently enrolled in a physics PhD program at Cornell University in USA and expect to graduate in spring 2024. My advisor is 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, cricket, squash and badminton. I enjoy cooking and have been trying to learn Spanish.



My research in non-technical language

I am a theoretical physics PhD student, which 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 predict 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 the following three minute youtube video as part of a three minute thesis competition at Cornell.