美国物理学会报道张首晟去世,成就和思想

作者:change?  于 2018-12-16 23:10 发表于 最热闹的华人社交网络--贝壳村

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Shoucheng Zhang 1963-2018

Celebrated condensed matter theorist dies at 55

December 10, 2018 | Daniel Garisto

Shoucheng Zhang, a theoretical physicist whose research pushed the frontiers of understanding exotic states of matter, has died at 55. His family released a statement saying that he had passed away “after fighting a battle with depression.” News outlets have reported that the family confirmed Zhang died from suicide.

Zhang, a pioneer in topological insulators, also worked on high temperature superconductivity and predicted the quantum spin Hall effect. In addition to being a Fellow of the APS, Zhang also won the APS Oliver Buckley Prize, a Guggenheim fellowship, the Alexander von Humboldt prize, and the Dirac Medal.

“He was one of the brightest theorists of his generation and it's an enormous loss for the whole community that this happened,” said Laurens Molenkamp, the editor for Physical Review B. “I lost a friend.”

Shoucheng Zhang

Outside his career in physics, Zhang was an entrepreneur who founded the venture capital firm Danhua Capital, which invested in developing technologies.

“He was a spectacular person. One of the most catholic intellectuals I've known. He was interested in everything. We discussed Lucretius and we discussed the history of empires and he tried to explain to me what blockchain was, I'm afraid, unsuccessfully,” said Steven Kivelson, a colleague at Stanford.

Shoucheng Zhang was born in Shanghai, in 1963, and began attending Fudan University while he was only 15. He then moved on to the Free University of Berlin, and later Stony Brook University, where he earned his Ph.D.

At Stony Brook, he initially studied supergravity with his advisor Peter van Nieuwenhuizen, before turning to condensed matter on the advice of his personal hero, Nobel laureate Chen-Ning Yang.

“He had a superior way of analyzing problems,” said Van Nieuwenhuizen.

As a condensed matter theorist, Zhang wielded his knowledge of particle physics, which gave him a unique ability and insight at the time, said Kivelson. “He had a deep faith in elegant mathematics to reveal important physics, but at the same time, he was also very interested in phenomena that can be measured in the real world.”

With Kivelson and Hans Hansson, Zhang developed a topological quantum field theory that explained phenomenological features of the fractional quantum Hall effect. Zhang later used this approach to more broadly make predictions about properties of quantum Hall systems. Experiments quickly confirmed his theories.

In 1993, Zhang became one of the youngest professors at Stanford, where he remained until his death. Students spoke fondly about Zhang.

“Shoucheng was a wonderful person who always pushed his students (myself included) to think originally and creatively,” said Bogdan Bernevig, a former student who is now a professor at Princeton. “I owe a lot of what I am, intellectually, to him.”

Zhang turned his attention to high-temperature superconductivity, where he established a symmetry principle that unified the antiferromagnetic and superconducting states of matter.

Werner Hanke, a professor at the University of Würzburg who collaborated with Zhang on this research said that “One of his central gifts was certainly his infectious enthusiasm,” which led to a love for “exploring radically new ideas.”

Zhang’s seminal work, though, would be in topological insulators. Along with Molenkamp and Charles Kane, he helped introduce the new state of matter—an insulator on its interior, but a symmetry-protected conductor on its surface. Topological insulators have been observed in materials such as mercury telluride (HgTe). The field that has grown around them is in no small part due to Zhang’s work.

“Shoucheng was an outstanding teacher and mentor … who could explain the most complex concepts in ways that made them clear and understandable even to simple experimentalists and chemists,” wrote Stuart Parkin and Claudia Felser, both researchers at institutes of the Max Planck Society in Germany. Both said they would not have worked on topological materials without having met Zhang.

For his discoveries in this area, Zhang was frequently mentioned in shortlists for the Nobel Prize.

In a statement, his family noted that his favorite poem, “Auguries of Innocence,” by William Blake, “expressed his life’s mission for boundless exploration and discovering beauty.”

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

The author is a freelance science writer based in New York.


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1 回复 fanlaifuqu 2018-12-16 23:35
在他的物理职业生涯之外,张是一位企业家,创立了风险投资公司丹华资本,后者投资开发技术。

“他是一个壮观的人。我所知道的最天主教知识分子之一。他对一切感兴趣。我们讨论了Lucretius,我们讨论了帝国的历史,他试图向我解释什么是区块链,我害怕,但没有成功,“斯坦福大学的同事Steven Kivelson说。

张守成于1963年出生于上海,15岁时开始就读复旦大学。随后他转到柏林自由大学和后来的石溪大学,获得博士学位。

在Stony Brook,他最初与他的顾问Peter van Nieuwenhuizen一起学习超重力,然后根据他的个人英雄诺贝尔奖获得者杨宁宁的建议转向凝聚态。

“他有一种更好的分析问题的方法,”Van Nieuwenhuizen说。

基韦尔森说,作为一个凝聚态理论家,张掌握了他的粒子物理知识,这使他在当时具备了独特的能力和洞察力。 “他对优雅数学有着深刻的信仰,能够揭示重要的物理学,但与此同时,他对现实世界中可以衡量的现象也非常感兴趣。”

通过Kivelson和Hans Hansson,Zhang开发了拓扑量子场理论,解释了分数量子霍尔效应的现象学特征。张后来使用这种方法更广泛地预测了量子霍尔系统的性质。实验很快证实了他的理论。

1993年,张成为斯坦福大学最年轻的教授之一,直到去世。学生们非常喜欢张。

“守城是一个很棒的人,总是把他的学生(包括我自己)推到原创和创造性地思考,”曾任普林斯顿大学教授的前学生Bogdan Bernevig说。 “在理智上,我欠他很多东西。”

张将注意力转向高温超导,在那里他建立了统一反铁磁和超导状态的对称原理。

维尔茨堡大学的教授维尔纳汉克与张与这项研究合作说,“他的一个主要恩赐当然是他的感染力”,这使人们热爱“探索全新的想法”。

然而,张的开创性工作将在拓扑绝缘体中。与Molenkamp和Charles Kane一起,他帮助引入了新的物质状态 - 在其内部是一个绝缘体,但在其表面上是一个对称保护的导体。已经在诸如碲化汞(HgTe)的材料中观察到拓扑绝缘体。围绕它们生长的领域在很大程度上归功于张的工作。

“守城是一位杰出的教师和导师......他们可以用简单的实验主义者和化学家来解释最复杂的概念,使他们清晰易懂,”斯图尔特帕金和克劳迪娅费尔瑟写道,他们都是德国马克斯普朗克协会研究所的研究人员。两人都表示,如果没有遇到张,他们就不会在拓扑材料上工作。

由于他在这方面的发现,张在诺贝尔奖的候选名单中经常被提及。

在一份声明中,他的家人注意到他最喜欢的诗作“威廉布莱克的纯真无辜”,“表达了他对无限探索和发现美的生命的使命。”

在沙粒中看到一个世界
和野花中的天堂
把无限放在手掌中
一小时内永恒
1 回复 fanlaifuqu 2018-12-16 23:35
Google did the translation!
1 回复 change? 2018-12-17 00:17
fanlaifuqu: Google did the translation!
Great! Thanks! I just forgot

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