Sarang Gopalakrishnan, PhD, has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) grant. Dr. Gopalakrishnan is a newly hired tenure track Physics faculty member within the Department of Engineering Science and Physics.
“I am very happy with the news of Dr. Gopalakrishnan’s CAREER grant award. Dr. Gopalakrishnan was recently hired to strengthen the Physics program in our division, and he is already making us all feel proud of that decision. Dr. Gopalakrishnan’s research interests are related to the overlapping of condensed matter, quantum computing, and statistical mechanics, so he works in fundamental, as well as applied problems. I am sure that this grant will create terrific research opportunities for the students,” commented Vivian Incera, PhD, professor of Physics and Dean of Science and Technology.
Dr. Gopalakrishnan’s project focuses on “the behavior of large physical systems [which are] irreversible. For instance, it is common for water to leak out of a pipe but not for the leaked water to spontaneously go back in the pipe. This irreversibility is manifested by the fact that over time systems tend to ‘forget’ their initial conditions: a spread-out puddle of water on the floor contains no obvious information about where the water came from. This apparent forgetting is at odds with the strictly information-preserving, reversible laws of quantum mechanics… This project explores the approach to equilibrium as an emergent phenomenon, and seeks to elucidate the nature of this phenomenon by exploring systems, related to glasses, in which it happens in ‘slow motion,’ i.e., systems that equilibrate extremely slowly and in well-separated stages… The proposal also has a substantial educational and outreach component, involving efforts to introduce undergraduates, high-school students, and the broader public to the surprising emergent phenomena in everyday life, such as the growth of icicles and the patterns of light on swimming-pool floors.”
Neo Antoniades, PhD, chair of the Department of Engineering Science, commended the new faculty members’ efforts. “Young faculty like Sarang with their impressive energy and research focus are currently leading our Engineering, Earth/Environmental and Physics/Astrophysics programs forward towards state-of-the-art levels,” Dr. Antoniades said.