How theoretical condensed matter physics developed in Rome

Mar 10, 2014

Italian physicist Carlo Di Castro, professor emeritus at the University of Rome Sapienza, Italy, shares his recollections of how theoretical condensed matter physics developed in Rome, starting in the 1960s. Luisa Bonolis, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, Germany, invited Di Castro to reflect upon his research career, which he did in an interview published in European Physical Journal H.

In this unique document, Di Castro talks about his upbringing during the second World War. He also explains how this childhood experience later influenced his philosophy, which he aptly summarises as follows: "the fear of the unknown must be overcome through knowledge and reason." Ultimately, this approach guided the career choices that led him to become a physicist.

In this interview, Di Castro covers his research focus over the years, ranging from the phenomenology of superfluid helium and superconductors, renormalisation groups applied to critical phenomena and quantum systems, strongly correlated electron systems, and .

He also discusses fundamental problems in , such as the derivation of scaling, the metal-insulator transition and the interaction effects on disordered electron systems beyond the Anderson localisation, as well as the existence of heterogeneous states in cuprates.

Di Castro gives a unique, personal account of the evolution of these research fields since the 1960s. He relates the encounters he had with those who would go on to become the next generation of condensed matter physicists and explains his involvement in setting up the 'Rome Group', an authority in his field, together with Claudio Castellani.

He concludes by sharing his experiences working on research policy, and by relating his disappointment with the deterioration of the research system due to the political and economic crisis affecting Italy.

Explore further: What's fair?: New theory on income inequality

More information: C. Di Castro and L. Bonolis (2013), "Personal remembrances of the beginnings of theoretical condensed matter physics in Rome," European Physical Journal H, DOI: 10.1140/epjh/e2013-40043-5.

Related Stories

Exotic quantum states: A new research approach

Oct 03, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Theoretical physicists of the University of Innsbruck have formulated a new concept to engineer exotic, so-called topological states of matter in quantum mechanical many-body systems. They ...

Describing particle coupling in condensed matter

Jun 22, 2012

The seemingly countless recent discoveries and predictions of particle physics are spurred by increasingly sophisticated mathematical theories and predictions. European researchers made important contributions ...

Iron age of high-temperature superconductivity

Dec 18, 2013

An international collaboration including Russian physicists from Moscow, Chernogolovka and Yekaterinburg have studied one member of the recently discovered family of superconductors based on iron compounds and find this exotic ...

New physics theory prize names first recipient

Sep 11, 2009

Pioneering theorist and Nobel laureate Philip W. Anderson has been named the first recipient of the Richard E. Prange Prize and Lectureship in Condensed Matter Theory and Related Areas. Anderson will receive a $10,000 honorarium ...

Recommended for you

What's fair?: New theory on income inequality

3 hours ago

The increasing inequality in income and wealth in recent years, together with excessive pay packages of CEOs in the U.S. and abroad, is of growing concern, especially to policy makers. Income inequality was ...

Scientists one step closer to mimicking gamma-ray bursts

9 hours ago

Using ever more energetic lasers, Lawrence Livermore researchers have produced a record high number of electron-positron pairs, opening exciting opportunities to study extreme astrophysical processes, such ...

On-demand X-rays at synchrotron light sources

May 26, 2015

Consumers are now in the era of "on-demand" entertainment, in which they have access to the books, music and movies they want thanks to the internet. Likewise, scientists who use synchrotron light sources ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.