Exploring Many-Body Problems With Arrays of Individual Atoms

  • Speaker
  • Antoine Browaeys, Ph.D.Institut d’Optique
    French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)
Date & Time


Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium
160 5th Ave
New York, NY 10010 United States

View Map

Doors open: 5:30 p.m. (No entrance before 5:30 p.m.)

Lecture: 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (Admittance closes at 6:20 p.m.)

The theme of the 2023 lecture series in physics is “The Third Quantum Revolution.” The first quantum revolution began with the discovery of quantum mechanics, which ultimately led to the invention of the transistor, the laser and the atomic clock. The second revolution enabled the control of small systems of particles and experimental demonstration of entanglement and non-locality — work that was recently recognized with the 2022 Nobel Prize in physics. We are now on the verge of a third quantum revolution, enabling the control of large quantum systems to forge previously unrealized quantum technologies. These talks will explore the many dimensions of this third revolution, from basic physics to quantum computing, communication and sensing.

2023 Lecture Series Themes

Biology: Microbiomes

Neuroscience and Autism Science: The Neuroscience of Sleep

Physics: The Third Quantum Revolution

Mathematics and Computer Science: Waves

About Presidential Lectures

Presidential Lectures are free public colloquia centered on four main themes: Biology, Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science, and Neuroscience and Autism Science. These curated, high-level scientific talks feature leading scientists and mathematicians and are intended to foster discourse and drive discovery among the broader NYC-area research community. We invite those interested in the topic to join us for this weekly lecture series.

Over the last twenty years, physicists have learned to manipulate individual quantum objects, such as atoms, ions, molecules, quantum circuits and electronic spins. Scientists can now build a synthetic quantum computer “atom by atom.” By controlling the interactions between atoms, scientists can study the properties of these elementary many-body systems, including quantum magnetism, transport of excitations and superconductivity, and thus gain a deeper understanding of the N-body problem. More recently, scientists realized that these quantum machines may find applications in industry, such as finding the solution of combinatorial optimization problems.

In this lecture, Antoine Browaeys will present an example of a synthetic quantum system based on laser-cooled ensembles of individual atoms trapped in microscopic optical tweezer arrays. By exciting the atoms to Rydberg states, he and his colleagues can make the atoms interact even at distances of more than 10 micrometers. In this way, they can study the magnetic properties of an ensemble of more than a hundred interacting one-half spins in a regime in which simulations by usual numerical methods are already very challenging. Some aspects of this research led to the creation of a startup called Pasqal.

About the Speaker

Browaeys is a research director at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) at the Institut d’Optique. He studied at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Cachan. He did his Ph.D. under Alain Aspect and his post-doc at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the United States under W.D. Phillips. He is an experimentalist, developing synthetic quantum systems to study many-body problems. He received the CNRS Silver Medal in 2021. He is a co-founder and a scientific adviser of the startup Pasqal.

Advancing Research in Basic Science and MathematicsSubscribe to our newsletters to receive news & updates