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ERC grant for Jörg Schmiedmayer of the Vienna University of Technology

Prof. Jörg Schmiedmayer of the Institute of Atomic and Subatomic Physics at the Vienna University of Technology has been focusing on experiments enabling new insights to be gained into the fundamental properties of the quantum world. Now he has been given an ERC Advanced Grant by the European Research Council (ERC), one of the most highly endowed and prestigious grants in the European funding landscape. He will now investigate emergence phenomena in quantum physics.

The laws which individual quantum particles obey have long been well understood. But how is it that completely different laws seem to prevail on the size scales with which we have to do in everyday life? How can the laws of larger systems be derived from the rules governing the quantum world? “Many questions in this area are still unresolved,” says Jörg Schmiedmayer. “Virtually all particularly interesting quantum phenomena are emergent, for example superconductivity, superfluidity and the properties of quantum materials. Complexity increases exponentially with the number of particles.” Amongst other projects, he is working on systems at the boundary between the quantum world and the macroscopic world, for example with clouds consisting of thousands of ultracold atoms which can be manipulated with the help of special atom chips.

Jörg Schmiedmayer has been conducting research at the Institute of Atomic and Subatomic Physics of the Vienna University of Technology since 2006, where he also authored his doctoral thesis. In the meantime, his professional career took him around the world. Schmiedmayer held a postdoc position at Harvard and MIT (Cambridge, USA), then went to Innsbruck and later worked as professor for experimental physics at the University of Heidelberg. As a guest professor, he also worked at the University of Beijing, China as well as at the National Institute for Informatics (NII) in Tokyo. Schmiedmayer has been awarded numerous scholarships and awards, including the Wittgenstein Prize of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF).

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