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IQIM Postdoctoral and Graduate Student Seminar

Friday, April 12, 2019
12:00pm to 1:00pm
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East Bridge 201
Emergent higher symmetry in topological phases of matter
Xiao-Gang Wen, Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,

Abstract: Global symmetry (0-symmetry) acts on the whole space while higher k-symmetry acts on the codimension-k subspaces. The usual condensed matter lattice theories do not have higher symmetries (unless we engineer fine-tuned toy models). However, for gapped systems, higher symmetries can emerge from the usual condensed matter theories at low energies (usually in a spontaneously broken form). We pointed out that the emergent spontaneously broken higher symmetries are nothing but a kind of topological orders. Thus the study of emergent spontaneously broken higher symmetries is a study of topological order. The emergent higher symmetries can be used to constrain possible phase transitions and possible phases induced by certain types of excitations in topological orders.

  • This week only, the IQIM Seminar will be in 201 E. Bridge with lunch provided following the talk in 114 E. Bridge.

For more information, please contact Marcia Brown by phone at 626-395-4013 or by email at