Waterloo physicist awarded CAP Herzberg Medal for early-career achievement

Friday, April 22, 2016

Roger MelkoDr. Roger Melko is a pioneer and world leader in the modern multidisciplinary field of quantum many-body physics. He has made major contributions to our understanding of strongly interacting condensed-matter systems through large-scale computer simulations.

Melko is Canada Research Chair in Computational Many-Body Physics, an affiliate member of the Institute for Quantum Computing at Waterloo, and an associate faculty member at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.

Melko’s innovative models and algorithms have enhanced the reach of computational methods and enabled the exploration of new physical phenomena. His numerous groundbreaking results include identifying exotic new phases of quantum matter, characterizing quantum phase transitions, and demonstrating emergent topological phenomena.

Roger Melko’s work demonstrates the transformative research taking place in the Faculty of Science at Waterloo. The ripple effects of these breakthroughs make the impact more powerful and long-lasting. He’s extremely deserving of this national recognition.”

- Bob Lemieux, dean of the Faculty of Science at Waterloo.

He is best known for his 2010 work using quantum Monte Carlo simulations to evaluate entropic measures of entanglement in condensed matter. Entanglement is a special connection between pairs or groups of quantum systems. Melko’s computational methods are widely used, and as a result, entanglement is now recognized as a useful tool in the study of quantum matter by condensed matter physicists around the world. His new approach to studying quantum entanglement has facilitated new collaborations between a variety of quantum physics fields.

It's exciting to see entanglement and other ideas from quantum information being adopted by condensed-matter and materials physics,” said Melko. “The potential of this new multi-disciplinary field is exciting, and I expect to see many new developments and breakthroughs in the near future as a result.”

Melko will receive his medal in Ottawa on June 16 from Professor Arthur B. McDonald, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics 2015. He is the second Waterloo physicist from Waterloo’s Faculty of Science to win this prestigious award.  Professor Michel Gingras received it in 2001 for his theoretical work on the role of random disorder in condensed matter physics.

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