Summary

My goal as a physicist is to develop a clearer understanding of quantum phases of matter and their transitions. I’m especially passionate about using inspiration from classical physics to probe quantum phenomena. This has often led me to interesting numerical work. For example, my curiosity about superfluid vortices, as described by Scheeler et al., led to my work with the Irvine lab at UChicago. While there I built from scratch a GPU-enhanced simulation of a superfluid to study vortex nucleation from an airfoil and used analogies to the classical therory of airfoil flight to better understand flight in a superfluid. My current work focuses on taking inspiration from classical/soft matter phase transitions in order to probe the high temperature cuprate superconductors. In addition, I’m studying the behavior of physical quantities across a more exotic continuous metal instulator transition described by T. Senthil.

I am also passionate about helping students to think about physics pictorially and to appreciate and take advantage of symmetry in their work.

Education

  • June, 2018: MASt (MSc equivalent) in Applied Mathematics, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

  • June 2017: BA in Physics, BS in Mathematics, University of Chicago, Chicago, US

Publications

S. Musser, D. Proment, M. Onorato, W. T. M. Irvine

We investigate superfluid flow around an airfoil accelerated to a finite velocity from rest. Using simulations of the Gross-Pitaevskii equation we find striking similarities to viscous flows: from production of starting vortices to convergence of airfoil circulation onto a quantized version of the Kutta-Joukowski circulation. We predict the number of quantized vortices nucleated by a given foil via a phenomenological argument. We further find stall-like behavior governed by airfoil speed, not angle of attack, as in classical flows. Finally we analyze the lift and drag acting on the airfoil.


Talks

We provide a model for thinking about ADMR in the small magnetic field limit and discuss what recent measurements of ADMR near the pseudogap critical point of Nd-LSCO are actually able to deduce about the Fermi surface. We further include the quasiparticle residue in these calculations and use our model to understand why its inclusion doesn't qualitatively alter the predicted ADMR for the spin density wave reconstructed Fermi surface. We attempt to propose a Fermi surface where the inclusion of the quasiparticle residue will alter the qualitative form of ADMR.

Quantum Spin Liquids: Kitaev Model

MIT Journal Club 101 - October 2, 2020

Quantum Spin Liquids: Disorder and Frustration

MIT Journal Club 101 - September 25, 2020

APS Division of Fluid Dynamics - November 23, 2019

We investigate the development of superfluid flow around an airfoil accelerated to a finite velocity from rest. Using both simulations of the Gross-Pitaevskii equation and analytical calculations we find striking similarities to viscous flows: from the production of starting vortices to the convergence of the airfoil circulation onto a quantized version of the classical Kutta-Joukowski circulation. Using a phenomenological argument we predict the number of vortices nucleated by a given foil and find good agreement with numerics. Finally we analyze the lift and drag acting on the airfoil.

Particle-Vortex Duality

Non-Equilibrium Statistical Mechanics (NESM) Journal Club - January 7, 2018

I’ll explore particle vortex duality, i.e. the idea that the 3D XY-Model and Abelian-Higgs Models are dual, with vortices in one model identified with particles in the other model. I’ll review the models and give some heuristic theoretical evidence for believing they describe the same physics, culminating in a revealing comparison of their phase diagrams. Next I’ll discuss how we can simulate a model in the same universality class as the Abelian-Higgs Model to verify that it undergoes an inverted XY-Model type transition. Finally I’ll conclude with applications of particle-vortex duality to the FQHE.

Vortex Νucleation in Superfluids

ChuSOARS - November 21, 2017

I will introduce superfluids and the vortex excitations they contain. I will also discuss how to produce these excitations via nucleation from moving objects.

Poisson Geometry with Applications to the Hamiltonian Formulation of Inviscid Fluid Mechanics

Chicago Mathematics REU - August 15, 2015

This talk was a distilled version of my 2015 REU paper From Hamiltonian Systems to Poisson Geometry.


Scientific Writing

We explore particle vortex duality, i.e. the idea that the 3D XY-Model and Abelian-Higgs Models are dual, with vortices in one model identified with particles in the other model. First we review the models and give some heuristic theoretical evidence for believing they describe the same physics. This culminates in a table to allow easy comparison between their phases. Next we discuss how we can use numerics to find the critical exponents of the models and check that they are the same. The Ising model is used to provide a natural introduction to numerical simulations, before moving on to simulating a model in the same universality class as the Abelian-Higgs Model. Finally we conclude with a demonstration that the Abelian-Higgs Model undergoes an inverted XY-Model type transition.

We motivate Weyl’s law by demonstrating the relevance of the distribution of eigenvalues of the Laplacian to the ultraviolet catastrophe of physics. We then introduce Riemannian geometry, define the Laplacian on a general Riemannian manifold, and find geometric analogs of various concepts in real space, along the way using the two-sphere as a clarifying example. Finally, we use analogy with real space and the results we have built up to prove Weyl’s law, making sure at each step to demonstrate the physical significance of any major ideas.

We introduce Hamiltonian systems and derive an important stability result, along with giving some physical motivation. We then move onto the generalization of these systems found in symplectic geometry. Next we consider symplectic geometry’s natural generalization, Poisson geometry. After giving some definitions we present the motivating example of the torqueless Euler equations. These motivate us to consider the abstract structure of Poisson geometry, but we first need to introduce some concepts from multi- vector calculus. Finally we arrive at some important results connecting symplectic geometry and Poisson geometry, including the Darboux-Weinstein theorem.

Weakly nonlinear oscillations exhibit a wide range of phenomena not seen in simple linear oscillations. This paper considers weakly nonlinear oscillations with an analytic forcing term, and attempts to understand various quantitative solution methods for this problem. We give a quantitative demonstration of the failure of regular perturbation theory, and use this failure to motivate investigation into two-timing and averaging theory. We see that both two-timing and averaging theory give initially identical approximations of a solution, in fact giving excellent approximations even when the nonlinear effects cease to be weak. Finally, we see that the results given by two-timing and averaging theory are physically valid only when the exact solution is bounded.