Opening Event, Columbia-Flatiron-Max Planck Center for Nonequilibrium Quantum Phenomena

Columbia University in the City of New York, the Flatiron Institute, and the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science are pleased to host the Opening Event for the new Columbia-Flatiron-Max Planck Center for Nonequilibrium Quantum Phenomena.

Launching the Opening Event is a Signing Ceremony hosted by Columbia University. Leadership of Columbia University, the Flatiron Institute, and the Max Planck Society will formally sign the governing documents and discuss inter-institutional collaboration. Dr. Immanuel Bloch will deliver Columbia's 2019 Ernest Kempton Adams Lecture; the event will conclude with a reception.

A two-day Symposium and Workshop, hosted by the Flatiron Institute, will follow the Signing Ceremony. The Symposium will feature plenary talks by distinguished external scientists; the Workshop will feature talks by Center faculty, postdocs, and student scientists on their research initiatives and plans. Both events will include ample time for discussion and interaction.

All events are free and open to the public, though space is limited: Participants are required to register by Thursday, October 31st. For questions, please contact [email protected].

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Signing Ceremony

November 18th, 2019
Columbia University in the City of New York

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Symposium & Workshop

November 19th & 20th, 2019
Flatiron Institute

Event Agendas

Location: Rotunda, 2nd Floor, Low Memorial Library
Columbia University, 535 West 116th Street, New York City, New York

More Information

Location: Ingrid Daubechies Auditorium, Flatiron Institute, 162 Fifth Avenue, New York City, New York

The Symposium focuses on new developments in the areas of quantum control, quantum dynamics, and quantum materials science. It features 10 plenary talks along with ample time for questions and discussion.

More Information

Location: Center for Computational Quantum Physics, Flatiron Institute, 162 Fifth Avenue, 9th Floor, New York City, New York

The workshop will feature parallel sessions with talks by Center staff, postdocs, and students, along with panel discussions and brainstorming sessions to refine the Center’s research agenda in nonequilibrium quantum phenomena and help set directions for the field.
Detailed Schedule to be announced in September.


Dr. Dmitri Basov is the Higgins Professor of Physics at Columbia University, and Director of Columbia's Energy Frontier Research Center on Programmable Quantum Materials. Basov’s research focus is on the experimental physics of quantum materials, with a particular focus on infrared/optical nano-spectroscopy and nano-imaging of correlated electron systems and of unconventional superconductivity.  He received his PhD in physics from the Academy of Sciences of the USSR in 1991, and held positions in the Departments of Physics at McMaster University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the University of California at San Diego, before moving to Columbia in 2016. Basov has received numerous prizes and awards, including the Isakson Prize of the American Physical Society and the Humboldt Prize (Germany). In 2019, he was named Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellow by the U.S. Department of Defense. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dr. Mischa Bonn is the Director of the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research and Extraordinary Professor at the University of Amsterdam, known for his pathbreaking work on spectroscopy of structure and dynamics in systems ranging from biological membranes to photovoltaic materials. He received his PhD from the University of Eindhoven, and held positions at the Fritz Haber Institute and the University of Leiden, prior to joining the Max Planck Society in 2011. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and was awarded the 2009 Gold Medal of the Royal Dutch Chemical Society and the 2019 Van’t Hoff Prize of the German Chemical Society.

Dr. Andrea Cavalleri is the founding director of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter and a professor of Physics at the University of Oxford (UK). He is best known for his experiments in which intense TeraHertz pulses are used to drive large amplitude and coherent lattice distortions in solids, manipulating their electronic properties, and for demonstrating that one can induce non-equilibrium superconductivity far above the thermodynamic transition temperature. Cavalleri is a recipient of the 2004 European Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, the 2015 Max Born Medal from the Institute of Physics and the German Research Foundation, the 2015 Dannie Heineman Prize from the Academy of Sciences in Goettingen, and the 2018 Isakson Prize from the American Physical Society. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and of the Institute of Physics. In 2017, he was elected a Member of the Academia Europaea.

Dr. Antoine Georges is the Director of the Center for Computational Quantum Physics at the Flatiron Institute, and a Professor of Physics at the Collège de France, where he holds the chair in condensed matter physics. His research focuses on the theory of many-particle quantum systems and materials with strong electronic correlations. He received his PhD from the École Normale Supérieure in 1988. Georges is one of the inventors of Dynamical Mean-Field Theory, for which he shared the 2006 Europhysics Prize. His work has been recognized by numerous fellowships and awards, including the Anatole and Suzanne Abragam Prize of the French Academy of Sciences, the 2004 Prix Dargelos, the 2006 Condensed Matter Europhysics Prize, the 2007 Silver Medal of the CNRS, a 2012 Synergy award from the European Research Council and the 2014 Hamburg Prize for Theoretical Physics. He is a member of the French Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Andrew Millis is Professor of Physics at Columbia University and Co-Director of the Center for Computational Quantum Physics at the Flatiron Institute. His research focus is the theoretical physics of electrons in materials, with a particular attention to collective properties such as superconductivity and magnetism. He received his PhD in physics from MIT in 1986, and worked at Bell Laboratories, the Johns Hopkins University, and Rutgers University, before joining Columbia University in 2001. At the Simons Foundation, he has served as Associate Director for Physics before moving to the Flatiron Institute in the Fall of 2017. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and received the 2017 Hamburg Prize for Theoretical Physics.

Dr. Angel Rubio is the Managing Director of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter and the Director of its Theory Department. He is a distinguished professor of physics at the University of the Basque Country and a professor of physics at the University of Hamburg. He is one of the founders of the European Theoretical Spectroscopy Facility, and the originator of the widely used ab initio open-source project Octopus. He has received numerous fellowships and awards, including the 2016 Medal of the Spanish Royal Physical Society, the 2014 Premio Rey Jaime I for basic research, the 2006 DuPont Prize in nanotechnology, the 2005 Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award of the Humboldt Foundation, and two European Research Council advanced grants. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the Academia Europaea, and a foreign associate member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Columbia University in the City of New York is one of the world's most important centers of research, and, at the same time, a distinctive and distinguished learning environment for undergraduates and graduate students in many scholarly and professional fields. The University recognizes the importance of its location in New York City, and seeks to link its research and teaching to the vast resources of a great metropolis. It seeks to attract a diverse and international faculty and student body, to support research and teaching on global issues, and to create academic relationships with many countries and regions. It expects all areas of the University to advance knowledge and learning at the highest level and to convey the products of its efforts to the world.

The Flatiron Institute of the Simons Foundation advances scientific research through computational methods, including data analysis, theory, modeling, and simulation. New experimental techniques in many fields of study are creating enormous amounts of raw, complex, and sometimes noisy data. Understanding and learning from these data and modeling the complex processes they reflect is a pressing concern in the scientific community. At the same time, advances in concepts, algorithms, and computation are enabling new kinds of simulations that can capture rich nonlinear and often time-dependent processes. These simulations demand increased sophistication in scientific technique, algorithmic development, and computation.

The Simons Foundation launched the Flatiron Institute to address these challenges, developing new conceptual, algorithmic, and computational methods and bringing them to bear on important scientific issues. The institute provides a highly interactive research environment for physicists, biologists, astronomers, chemists, computational scientists, data scientists, and programmers to work together to create, deploy, apply, and support state-of-the-art computational methods.

The Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science is Germany's most successful research organization. Since its establishment in 1948, no fewer than 18 Nobel laureates have emerged from the ranks of its scientists, putting it on a par with the best and most prestigious research institutions worldwide. The more than 15,000 publications each year in internationally renowned scientific journals are proof of the outstanding research work conducted at Max Planck Institutes – and many of those articles are among the most-cited publications in the relevant field. The currently 84 Max Planck Institutes and facilities conduct basic research in the service of the general public in the natural sciences, life sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. Max Planck Institutes focus on research fields that are particularly innovative, or that are especially demanding in terms of funding or time requirements. And their research spectrum is continually evolving: new institutes are established to find answers to seminal, forward-looking scientific questions, while others are closed when, for example, their research field has been widely established at universities. This continuous renewal preserves the scope the Max Planck Society needs to react quickly to pioneering scientific developments.


The new Max Planck-New York City Center for Nonequilibrium Quantum Phenomena establishes Columbia University and the Flatiron Institute as Partner Institutes of the Max Planck Society, in collaboration with Max Planck Institutes for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (Hamburg)  and  Polymer Research. Led by Drs. Dmitri Basov (Columbia), Andrea Cavalleri (MPSID), and Andrew Millis (Flatiron and Columbia), along with  Angel Rubio (MPISD) and Mischa Bonn (MPIPP), the Center will leverage the complementary strengths of four institutions to advance one of the most vibrant, challenging, and exciting areas of research in the physical sciences: control of non-equilibrium quantum phenomena in complex materials. The Center’s unique combination of capabilities includes advanced experimental techniques in optics and x-ray science, new types of ultrafast microscopies, innovative expertise in materials synthesis, strong light-matter interactions, and forefront theoretical and computational methods. The activities of the Center will include joint research projects, convening of workshops and meetings, and faculty, postdoc and student exchange. Funded jointly by its partners at the level of more than $1M/year, the Center will establish new structures for the development of early-career student, postdoctoral, and faculty scientists, creating a new blueprint for international collaboration.

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Yes: Guests are welcome to attend any or all portions of the three-day Opening Event, including the Signing Ceremony, Symposium, and/or Workshop, but must register for all days attended. When filling out the Registration Form, please indicate what days you would like to attend. Please email [email protected] with any questions.

Quantum mechanics describes the behavior of matter at the every small scales of the protons, neutrons, and electrons that make up atoms. But quantum mechanics also plays a crucial role in the behavior of the much larger systems important in every day life—controlling, for example, whether a material is conducting, superconducting, or insulating, magnetic or non-magnetic, effective or ineffective as a laser. "Quantum materials," those with dramatic electronic properties arising from quantum mechanical interactions among the constituents, are a central focus of modern physics and materials science research.

"Nonequilibrium" refers to systems driven away from their normal state by something - current, radiation, chemical reactions. Scientists in the Center for Nonequilibrium Quantum Phenomena study the nonequilibrium physics of quantum materials as a  new way to address one the most important goals of physics and materials science research: namely, to search for new electronic, magnetic, and structural phases of solids, with new and  controllable functionalities. A key focus is on "quantum materials": those with novel electronic and magnetic properties arising from the quantum mechanical interactions of the component electrons. Traditionally, progress has been driven by synthesis of materials in equilibrium, along with interrogation of the equilibrium properties with ever more refined tools. As these materials are being used in devices of ever-increasing speed and miniaturization, many concepts developed to describe matter at equilibrium and in thermodynamic limits lose their predictive power, and the new modalities offered by nonequilibrium control become important.

The new Center will embrace the challenge of understanding quantum materials away from equilibrium, starting from existing or specially-tailored materials, and inducing new physical phenomena through the interaction with appropriately designed radiation fields. This work will build upon significant advances made in the past decade in the control of non-equilibrium many-body quantum phenomena in the synthetic environment of optical lattices. We are now at a stage in which broader and more compelling questions of non-equilibrium many-body physics can be approached in real materials under ambient or near-ambient conditions. Non-equilibrium phases in which structural, electronic, and magnetic symmetries are manipulated by coherent stimulation are becoming accessible, presenting new opportunities for fundamental science and technological applications.

Yes, Columbia University and the Flatiron Institute will be taking photographs and other video recordings of all portions of this Opening Event. Event attendance constitutes each guests' understanding of and agreement with having their person and voice recorded. 

Columbia University and the Flatiron Institute welcome members of the scientific and general media at all portions of the Opening Event, and will try to accommodate journalists who would like to contact our speakers. Credentialed media can register by emailing [email protected]. Any press attending should display their credentials.

Audio, still photo, and video recording by any device (cameras, laptops, PDAs, cell phones) is strictly prohibited during all portions of the event, unless prior written permission is obtained. Photographs taken by Columbia and/or the Flatiron Institute may be available on request.

The event is designed for its audience, and press should refrain from asking questions during the talks and open Q & A sessions.

We sure do! For a high-resolution PDF version, please email [email protected].

Invitation Flyer

Please direct all questions to [email protected]. Your correspondence will be returned within 24 hours. 

Signing Ceremony Location

Rotunda, 2nd Floor, Low Memorial Library
Columbia University, 535 West 116th Street

Symposium & Workshop Location

Ingrid Daubechies Auditorium
Center for Computational Quantum Physics
Flatiron Institute, 162 Fifth Avenue

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