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Komargodski Delivers Racah Memorial Lecture on Chern-Simons Interaction

Zohar komargodski

Zohar komargodskiZohar Komargodski, professor in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Physics and Astronomy and faculty in the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics, delivered the annual Racah Memorial Lecture, “An Overview Of The Chern-Simons Interaction,” June 10 at the Racah Institute of Physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The lecture is an invited annual talk featuring the world’s most distinguished physicists. “Giulio Racah was one of the founders of physics and mathematics in Israel, and he made profound contributions to the field,” said Komargoski. “Many remarkable scientists have been given this honor. I am very humbled and proud to be part of that illustrious group.”

In 1970, the Racah Institute of Physics was formally established and named after Giulio Racah, with the Racah Memorial Lecture commencing in 1971.

For his lecture, Komargodski chose a topic that simultaneously commemorated Jim Simons, pioneering mathematician who served as chair of the Department of Mathematics from 1968 to 1978. “There is a very clear thread connecting the discoveries of Racah and Simons,” Komargoski said. “Indeed, Racah’s W coefficients appear in a ‘semi-classical’ limit of Chern-Simons theory!”
Komargodski said he received very good feedback from the lecture, benefiting greatly from the discussions that ensued.

Komargodski provided an introductory-level overview of the Chern-Simons interaction, which is a special possible modification of electromagnetism in two space dimensions. He explained how electromagnetism behaves in the presence of such interactions at the classical and quantum levels, discussed recent conjectures on the quantum dynamics of particles with such interactions. and provided an overview the role of the Chern-Simons interaction in condensed matter systems and its importance for quantum computations.

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