Alexander Seidel

Alexander Seidel

Associate Professor of Physics​
PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Vordiplom, University of Bayreuth
research interests:
  • Condensed Matter
  • Quantum Many-Body Systems

contact info:

mailing address:

  • WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
    CB 1105
    ONE BROOKINGS DR.
    ST. LOUIS, MO 63130-4899

Professor Seidel is working on the theory of quantum many-body systems in condensed matter physics. His main interests lie in strongly correlated systems, where new phenomena emerge that cannot be understood even at a crude level without properly taking into account the interactions between particles.

This tends to be the case for systems where particles are constrained to move in less than three dimensions. Examples include quantum Hall systems, quantum magnets and nearby phases of matter such as high-temperature superconductors, and quasi one-dimensional systems such as spin chains.

The challenge in studying these systems is two-fold: To identify the simplest possible description that captures the essence of a given phenomenon, and to develop working calculational tools to study the "simple" models that arise in this way. These tools may involve methods of quantum field theory, numerical methods, and the construction of exact or variational many-body wavefunctions.

One of the primary goals of research into strongly correlated matter is to understand and perhaps predict new paradigms according to which matter can behave such as topological order, which applies to fractional quantum Hall states. These systems are host to a set of remarkable phenomena such as fractional charge quantum numbers and exotic braiding statistics. These properties are interesting both from a fundamental physics viewpoint, as well as for their potential use in building a fault-tolerant topological quantum computer. Recently, Professor Seidel has been exploring new ways to understand the topological orders of fractional quantum Hall systems.

recent courses

Physics II (Physics 198)

An advanced, calculus-based introduction to central concepts in modern physics in an active learning environment for students who desire to major in physics or another physical science, or who have a special interest in physics. The course is structured around three themes that are treated in depth: electricity and magnetism, quantum physics, and statistical and thermal physics.

    Introduction to Quantum Physics II (Physics 318)

    Application of quantum principles to atomic and molecular physics, solid-state physics, and nuclear and particle physics.

      Quantum Mechanics I (Physics 523)

      The first of a two-semester course in graduate quantum mechanics. Review of wave mechanics, quantum theory of measurement and theory of linear (state) vector spaces, dynamics of quantized systems. Continuous symmetries: translation and rotation invariance, quantum theory of angular momentum and rotation groups. Discrete symmetries: space-reflection parity, lattice band theory, time reversal. Emphasis is on applications to systems of physical interest.

        Theoretical Physics (Physics 501)

        The first part of a two-semester course reviewing the mathematical methods essential for the study of physics. Theory of functions of a complex variable, residue theory; review of ordinary differential equations; introduction to partial differential equations; integral transforms.

          Methods of Theoretical Physics II (Physics 502)

          Continuation of Phys 501. Introduction to function spaces; self-adjoint and unitary operators; eigenvalue problems, partial differential equations, special functions; integral equations; introduction to group theory.