Eduardo H. Fradkin

Professor

Contact

Eduardo H. Fradkin

Primary Research Area

  • Condensed Matter Physics

Biography

Professor Eduardo Fradkin received his Licenciado (master's) degree in physics from Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina) and his PhD in physics from Stanford University in 1979. He came to the University of Illinois in 1979 as a postdoctoral research associate, and became an assistant professor of physics at Illinois in 1981. He was promoted to associate professor in 1984, and became a full professor in 1989. Professor Fradkin is an internationally recognized leader in theoretical physics, who has contributed to many problems at the interface between quantum field theory (QFT) and condensed matter physics (CMP).

In his early work, he pioneered the use of concepts from CMP and statistical physics, such as order parameters and phase diagrams, to problems of QFT and high energy physics, in particular to the non-perturbative behavior of gauge theories. Perhaps his most important result in this area was the proof that when matter fields carry the fundamental unit of charge, the Higgs and confinement phases of gauge theories are smoothly connected to each other and are as different as a liquid is from a gas. This result remains one of the cornerstones of our understanding of the phases of gauge theories and represents a lasting contribution to elementary particle physics.

Professor Fradkin's unique perspective has allowed him to invoke and apply results from QFT to CMP. He was one of the first theorists to use gauge theory concepts in the theory of spin glasses and to use concepts of chaos and non-linear systems in equilibrium statistical mechanics of frustrated systems. Professor Fradkin has pioneered the application of QFT methods to the physics of correlated disordered electronic systems and the quantum stability of the spontaneously dimerized state of polyacetylene.

Professor Fradkin also pioneered the use of Dirac fermions for CMP problems, particularly in two space dimensions. A prime example is his work on Dirac fermions on random fields (which he began with former graduate student Dr. Matthew Fisher), which is now regarded as the universality class of the transition between quantum Hall plateaus in the integer Hall effect. This work is also important for the description of quasiparticles in disordered d-wave superconductors. He also applied, quite early on, these ideas to the physics of what nowadays are known as topological insulators, showing that in the presence of lattice topological defects, these systems exhibit a non-trivial electronic spectrum with a parity anomaly.

A major achievement of Professor Fradkin's recent research has been the development, in collaboration with former graduate student Dr. Ana Lopez, of the fermion Chern-Simons field theory of the fractional quantum Hall effect. This theory has played a central role in the current research effort in this exciting problem in CMP. Professor Fradkin and his collaborators have extended this theory to the more challenging problem of the non-Abelian quantum hall states and developed a theory of a non-Abelian interferometer to study the unusual properties of the vortices of these quantum fluids.

More recently Professor Fradkin and his collaborators introduced the notion of electronic liquid crystal states, which are phases of quantum fermionic strongly correlated systems exhibiting properties akin to those of classical complex fluids. These ideas play a crucial role in the current understanding of the pesudogap regime of high temperature superconductors.

Research Statement

Professor Fradkin is an internationally recognized leader in theoretical physics, who has contributed to many problems at the interface between quantum field theory (QFT) and condensed matter physics (CMP). He pioneered the use of concepts from CMP and statistical physics, such as order parameters and phase diagrams, to problems of QFT and high energy physics. Perhaps his most important result in this area was the proof that when matter fields carry the fundamental unit of charge, the Higgs and confinement phases of gauge theories are smoothly connected to each other and are as different as a liquid is from a gas. This result remains one of the cornerstones of our understanding of the phases of gauge theories and represents a lasting contribution to elementary particle physics. Professor Fradkin's unique perspective has allowed him to invoke and apply results from QFT to CMP. He was one of the first theorists to use gauge theory concepts in the theory of spin glasses and to use concepts of chaos and non-linear systems in equilibrium statistical mechanics of frustrated systems.

Professor Fradkin has pioneered the application of QFT methods to the physics of correlated disordered electronic systems and the quantum stability of the spontaneously dimerized state of polyacetylene. Professor Fradkin also pioneered the use of Dirac fermions for CMP problems, particularly in two space dimensions. A prime example is his work on Dirac fermions on random fields, which is now regarded as the universality class of the transition between quantum Hall plateaus in the integer Hall effect. This work is also important for the description of quasiparticles in disordered d-wave superconductors. A major achievement of Professor Fradkin's recent research has been the development of the fermion Chern-Simons field theory of the fractional quantum Hall effect. This theory has played a central role in the current research effort in this exciting problem in CMP. He has recently developed a theory of electronic liquid crystal phases in strongly correlated systems and formulated a mechanism of high temperature superconductivity based on this new concept. This theory plays a central role in the interpretation of experiments in these systems of foremost importance. He is also a leader in the theory of topological phases in condensed matter and on the role of quantum entanglement at quantum critical points.

Honors

  • Simons Distinguished Vising Scholar, Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (Santa Barbara, CA) (September 2014 and April 2015)
  • Associate of the Center for Advanced Study (UIUC) (Spring 2015)
  • Donald Biggar Willett Professor of Physics, department of Physics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (since 2014)
  • Cesar Milstein Fellowship, Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation, Argentina, July 2007, June 2011 (July 2007, June 2011)
  • Arnold O. Beckmann Award of the research Board of the University of Illinois (Academic Year 2006-2007)
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2009) (2009)
  • Member, National Academy of Sciences, April 30, 2013 (2013)
  • Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship Award (1998) (1998)
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society (1998) (1998)
  • Incomplete List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students; Spring Semester 1996.

Semesters Ranked Excellent Teacher by Students

SemesterCourseOutstanding
Fall 2000PHYS 498

Selected Articles in Journals

Books Authored or Co-Authored (Original Editions)

  • E. H. Fradkin. Field Theories of Condensed Physics, Second Edition. Cambridge University Press. (2013).
  • E. H. Fradkin. Field Theories of Condensed Matter Systems. (Addison-Wesley Advanced Book Program: Redwood City). Frontiers in Physics Series (1991).

Articles in Conference Proceedings

Related news

  • Research
  • Condensed Matter Physics

An ultrapure material taken to pressures greater than that in the depths of the ocean and chilled to temperatures colder than outer space has revealed an unexpected phase transition that crosses two different phase categories.

A Purdue University-led team of researchers observed electrons transition from a topologically ordered phase to a broken symmetry phase, as predicted by University of Illinois theoretical condensed matter physicist, Eduardo Fradkin.