On your wavelength

Interactions: Damian Wozniak

Damian is a recent theoretical physics graduate. In September he will start his PhD with Dr Anna Posazhennikova at Royal Holloway University of London to work on nonequilibrium dynamics of bosons in optical lattices. The aim is to study the role played by incoherent quasi-particles excited due to nonequilibrium and to study the role of disorder in dynamics, as well as possible thermalisation of superfluid optical lattices. He won a Nature Reviews Physics poster prize at the Condensed Matter Physics in the City conference in London.

Can you briefly explain the results for which you got the award?

The poster was based on work on analysing quantum phase transitions in a system of optical lattice bosons coupled to an array of atomic quantum dots. The hybrid system parallels the Bose-Hubbard model with a single difference of an additional assisted tunnelling via coupling to atomic quantum dots. Using mean field methods we show that the bosonic subsystem still undergoes a Mott-superfluid quantum phase transition. However, unlike in the Bose-Hubbard model transition, the transition boundary can be manipulated.

What do you hope will be the impact of your research?

I do not know enough about the field to say, but I hope it at least gives some thoughts to any of its readers.

What made you want to be a physicist in the first place?

I haven’t fully decided on it yet. At first, I liked doing maths and physics, I wondered what doing physics would lead to. Sometime throughout my A-levels, I decided to pursue physics. Getting better at physics and learning more of it has made it pretty fun and absorbed me more and more into it.

If you weren’t a physicist, what would you like to be (and why)?

Mathematician or doing some work involving programming, I like doing both of them.

Which is the development that you would really like to see in the next 10 years?

Different style of physics education. Physics books are hard to read through, the concepts they present are sometimes hard to understand with just what is written in them and different books cover things in different detail. It would be nice to have lectures online or podcast discussions on these books. I would like to see a single book/online course series which goes into varying depth on all physics topics (dependent on if someone is just curious or studying the topic seriously), with accompanying problems, discussions, and projects to push the understanding of students. Also, this series would need to be entirely self-sufficient.

What Sci-Fi gadget or technology would you most like to have / see come true (and why)?

A new electric propulsion engine, one that can be used to leave the surface of Earth: it might make things cheap enough to grab a ticket for a spaceflight around the Earth.


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