Nicholas Read is a theoretical condensed matter physicist known for his work on strongly correlated and topological phases of matter, especially in the fractional quantum Hall effect, including the prediction of the possibility of quasiparticles with non-Abelian statistics and of Majorana zero modes in condensed matter systems. Read was born and grew up in London. He was an undergraduate at Cambridge and gained a PhD at Imperial College, London, before moving to the United States. After postdoctoral positions at Brown University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he joined the faculty of Yale University in 1988. He is a Member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a recipient of both the Oliver E. Buckley Prize of the American Physical Society and the Dirac Medal and Prize of the Abdus Salam Institute for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy.

Research Interests

Nicholas Read's theoretical work has identified several novel phases of matter, including some that have either been observed, and others that continue to inspire experimental searches. In the fractional quantum Hall effect, which occurs in a two-dimensional system of electrons in a high magnetic field at low temperature, these include liquid states which are predicted to support point-like quasiparticle excitations with unusual (non-Abelian) statistics properties, in which quantum information could be stored non-locally. Such excitations could be the basis for a form of quantum computing that is robust against errors caused by the environment. Some of these are connected with Majorana zero mode operators. In other work, he elucidated the properties of two-dimensional quantum antiferromagnets when their order is destroyed by quantum fluctuations. In still other work, he has found exact results for electrons in the presence of a random background potential, and has clarified the nature of the replica-symmetry breaking theory for short-range spin glasses.

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Section 13: Physics