Principal Investigator: Lev Kaplan
Tulane Group Members: Ron Koshita, Shreyas Sadugol
Quantum chaos addresses fundamental questions about quantum-classical correspondence and semi-classical methods for generic quantum systems (with non-integrable classical analogues), bringing together methods, insights, and examples from areas as diverse as condensed matter and mesoscopic physics, atomic, optical, molecular, and chemical physics, nuclear physics, microwave physics, nonlinear dynamics, statistical mechanics, and mathematical physics. The goal is to develop a framework and set of techniques relevant to a broad range of complex physical phenomena and transcending the peculiarities of specific physical models.
Specific areas of recent interest have included:
Principal Investigators: Jianwei Sun
Tulane Group Members: Yubo Zhang, James Furness, Jinliang Ning, Manish Kothakonda, Kanun Pokharel
The importance of materials is demonstrated by the names we use to identify human civilizations, from stone to bronze to iron to the modern silicon ages. On the microscopic scale, all materials exist as collections of atoms consisting of nuclei surrounded by much lighter electrons. The behavior of the electrons is governed by quantum mechanics and largely determines properties of materials. The grand challenge of developing the advanced materials that benefit society therefore becomes how to understand and control material processes at the level of electrons.
The high efficiency and useful accuracy of density functional theory (DFT) and its extensions (e.g., time-dependent or TD DFT), have caused them to become the most widely used electronic structure theories in chemistry, materials science, and condensed matter physics. In principle DFT is exact for the ground state energy and electron density, but in practice the exchange-correlation energy as a functional of electron density must be approximated. My research interests are in understanding the fundamental properties of the exchange-correlation energy (or the exchange-correlation potential and kernel in case of TD-DFT), using this understanding to derive more accurate and efficient approximations, and applying the approximations to predict properties and behaviors of materials and computationally design materials that are scientifically, technologically, or economically important.
I have constructed the strongly-constrained and appropriately-normed (SCAN) density functional that is physically justified, non-empirical, efficient, and accurate. SCAN predicts accurate material structures and energies, with improved electronic energy band gaps for diversely-bonded systems (including covalent, metallic, ionic, hydrogen, and van der Waals (vdW) bonds) simultaneously. SCAN significantly and systematically improves over conventional density functionals, and thus greatly advances the development of DFT and its applications in a wide range of materials. My group currently focuses on taking advantage of SCAN for density functional developments and applications, with an emphasis on:
Principal Investigator: Daniel Purrington
This group's research interests have been traditionally focused on the quantum theory of scattering, principally few-body problems, and nuclear structure. In recent years this has evolved into theoretical treatment of classical scattering, mostly in the ocean acoustics context, and primarily involving scattering from randomly rough interfaces, including fractal geometries.
Principal Investigator: Daniel Purrington (Emeritus)
Specific scholarship on the history of physics and astronomy in recent years has focused on a number of various topics, including the history of cosmology, the history of physics in the 19th century, and the history of astronomy, principally, archaeoastronomy.
Since 1989, Dr. Purrington has been particularly interested in the scientific revolution, and has just recently completed a monograph project on Robert Hooke and the Royal Society.
Principal Investigator: George Rosensteel
Tulane Group Members: Farren Curtis, Nick Sparks
As one of the original discoverers in the mid 1970's of symplectic dynamical symmetry to describe geometrical collective modes in atomic nuclei and astrophysical systems, this research program encompasses several areas of theoretical and mathematical physics including representations of non-compact Lie groups, geometric quantization, differential geometry of fiber bundles, dynamical systems on co-adjoint orbits, and density functional theory.
Tulane Group Members: Khazhgery "Jerry" Shakov, James McGuire
This loosely organized group focuses on techniques and innovations involved in the teaching of physics, primarily at the college level.
Current and ongoing projects include the development of new courses, technological improvements to lecture and lab courses, outreach programs within the community, and the development of classroom demonstrations and techniques.
We are also interested in building effective and productive partnerships with STEM educators at elementary and secondary levels. Some of the projects we have been involved with include professional development for local K-12 STEM teachers (Math & Science Partnership NOLA SMILE, Core Element), as well as our service learning course, Introduction to Physics Pedagogy. In that course, Tulane students experience a technology enabled constructivist approach to Physics education by observing and participating in the teaching of Physics courses with Stephen Collins at Lusher Charter School.
Principal Investigator: Frank Tipler
Astrophysical black holes almost certainly exist, but Hawking has shown that if black holes are allowed to exist for unlimited proper time, then they will completely evaporate, and unitarity will be violated. Thus unitarity requires that the universe must cease to exist after finite proper time, which implies that the universe has the spatial topology of a three-sphere. The Second Law of Thermodynamics says the amount of entropy in the universe cannot decrease, but it can be shown that the amount of entropy already in the CBR will eventually contradict the Bekenstein Bound near the final singularity unless there are no event horizons, since in the presence of horizons the Bekenstein Bound implies the universal entropy S is less that a constant times the radius of the universe squared, and general relativity requires the radius to go to zero at the final singularity. The absence of event horizons by definition means that the universe's future c-boundary is a single point, call it the Omega Point. Thus life (which near the final state, is really collectively intelligent computers) almost certainly must be present arbitrarily close to the final singularity in order for the known laws of physics to be mutually consistent at all times. Misner has shown in effect that event horizon elimination requires an infinite number of distinct manipulations, so an infinite amount of information must be processed between now and the final singularity. The amount of information stored at any given time diverges to infinity as the Omega Point is approached, since the entropy diverges to infinity there, implying divergence of the complexity of the system that must be understood to be controlled. Life transferring its information to a medium that can withstand the arbitrarily high temperatures near the final singularity has several implications: first, (Omega-naught - 1) is between a millionth and a thousandth, where Omega-naught is the density parameter, and second, the Standard Model Higgs boson mass must be 220 plus or minus 20 GeV.