Topological Matter

8-19 January 2018

Topological states of condensed matter and photonics is an extremely active field of modern physics. It has been the subject of major advances in the past few decades, leading to the 2016 award of the Nobel Prize in physics. Advances in Topological Matter are likely to govern the development of new technologies and applications in the 21st century.

The quote below is from Manuel Asorey, “Space, matter and topology”, Nature Physics 12, 616–618 (2016)

In the early 1960s George Gamow wrote a popular book that contained a very suggestive observation about the effectiveness of pure mathematics in physics. As a conclusion he remarked that "only number theory and topology (analysis situs) still remain purely mathematical disciplines without any application to physics. Could it be that they will be called to help in our further understanding of the riddles of Nature?" Fifty years later, the applications of topology in physics are so numerous that they cannot be covered in a short note. Gamow surely never dreamt that newly discovered phases of matter would be labelled with topological names. Topological phases, topological insulators, topological superconductors and topological semimetals — these are just a few examples of what is generally referred to as topological matter.

The target audience of this summer school is undergraduate and graduate students from across Australia and New Zealand. The plan is to cover the following current research topics in topological matter, explaining both fundamental theoretical concepts and prospective applications:

  1. Topological phases of matter (the 2016 Nobel Prize)
  2. Topological photonics
  3. Topological physics of ultra cold gases/engineered quantum systems
  4. Topological quantum computation
  5. Geometric topology of materials
  6. Mathematical foundations

In addition to the regular lectures there will be other activities such as tutorial sessions, lab visits, a poster session, a science communication workshop and an extended social event.

Physics lab tours will also be organised. Student travel, child support & living scholarships are available.

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Keynote speaker

Duncan Haldane obtained his PhD from Cambridge University. He has worked at Institut Laue-Langevin in Grenoble, the University of Southern California, Bell Laboratories and the University of California San Diego. Since 1990 he has been at Princeton University. Duncan Haldane is well known for a variety of contributions to condensed matter physics, including fundamental results for quantum spin chains, quantum liquids, and the fractional quantum Hall effect. He received the 2016 Nobel prize with John M. Kosterlitz and David J. Thouless "for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter".



  • Murray Batchelor
  • Jeffrey Davis
  • Joe Hope
  • Elena Ostrovskaia
  • Vanessa Robins
  • Cedric Simenel
  • Robert Ward
  • Elizabeth Williams



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Updated:  22 September 2017/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPE/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster