I'm going to be at the March Meeting of the American Physical Society in Baltimore next week. This is the largest physics meeting of the year, with an emphasis on condensed matter physics (which is actually the largest single area of study within physics, though media overemphasis on particle physics and astrophysics might lead you to think otherwise). The program for the meeting is, um, kind of intimidating.
So, this post has two purposes:
1) If you're also going to be at the March Meeting, let me know, and maybe we can arrange some kind of bloggy-people meet-up.
2) More importantly, if you're in the fields that call the March Meeting home, I'd be very grateful for a guide to the "hot topics," especially if you can point out some especially good speakers I should make sure to catch.
My own talk is a ten-minute report on last summer's Schrödinger Sessions workshop, on Wednesday afternoon. Other than that, I have no solid obligations to do anything in particular, but I'm hoping to use this to get some good material for blogging. So, guidance would be much appreciated.
I'm not going anymore, but the past couple of years there were some great talks on the mechanical properties of kiritami (basically origami but you can cut the paper). Some analogues to graphene were made.
I used to hang out with the granular physics folks and that can be worth a spin. There was a great talk a couple of years ago looking at conching chocolate.
Kirigami, not "kiritami", sorry.
The one speaker who comes to mind is Bob Cava, who's the head of a crystal growth group at Princeton, and who has a knack for explaining things in an accessible (at least to the other condensed matter physicists who attend his talks) but still scientifically rigorous way. I remember one anecdote he said, something about how hydrogen fluoride resulted in "the one fire they couldn't put out" that was particularly funny. He's giving a talk on Thursday in session S28.
As far as hot topics are concerned:
- Atomically thin layers of various compounds (following the discovery of graphene) would be at the top of my list. It looks like session Y16 might be a good place to check out.
- Somewhat related is the discovery of relatively high-Tc superconductivity in thin films of Fe(Te,Se) grown on a substrate. My rough impression is that the details are controversial, but you definitely get enhanced superconductivity in thin films. It looks like B11 covers this.
- Topological materials (insulators, semimetals, superconductors, etc.) are a continuing hot topic. Of these, topological superconductivity has been the hardest to demonstrate, but potentially the most exciting given the unconventional superconductivity and unusual quasiparticles (Majorana fermions) that should exist on the surface of these materials. I'd probably recommend Liang Fu's talk in session H28.
- Finally, iron-based and cuprate superconductors are no longer new, but their superconducting mechanisms and magnetic properties are still not well understood, so research is continuing. There are probably tons of sessions on these topics, but the first one that jumps out is C1 for Fe(Te,Se) materials.
In addition, the Inner Harbor area of Baltimore is nice, and I'd recommend checking out the historic ships and the aquarium.