Renowned quantum physicist joins UBC from Harvard as new Canada Excellence Research Chair

June 26, 2015

Physicist Jennifer Hoffman. Source: Kris Snibbe/Harvard Public Affairs and Communications.

UBC welcomed quantum physicist Jennifer Hoffman today as its newest Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC). She joins a team of leading-edge quantum matter researchers at UBC, building a critical mass of expertise in this emerging field.
The CERC program was established by the federal government in 2008 to recruit top talent from abroad to strengthen Canadian research programs. UBC will receive $10 million over seven years to support the chair and her research team.

Hoffman, who comes to UBC from Harvard University, has accepted the CERC in Quantum Materials and Devices Based on Oxide Heterostructures. She will be one of only 24 chairs in Canada.
“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Hoffman to Vancouver to join UBC’s team of quantum matter scientists,” said UBC President Arvind Gupta. “Quantum materials are expected to transform technology and spawn new industries. This investment allows our researchers to be at the forefront of discovering new materials and understanding their potential.”
 Quantum physics is the study of the behavior of matter and energy at the molecular, atomic, nuclear, and even smaller microscopic levels. In the early 20th century, it was discovered that the laws that govern bigger objects do not function the same in such small realms.  Similarly, quantum materials are substances with remarkable—and often very useful—electronic and magnetic properties that are not yet well understood.
UBC’s quantum matter research team, based out of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has made pioneering contributions to this field.  The team includes diverse expertise in fundamental theory, computational modelling, materials synthesis, optical and electronic characterization, and device engineering.

“I wanted to come here because of the people,” said Hoffman. “UBC physicists are leading the worldwide effort to characterize and decode quantum materials and I look forward working in a collaborative research environment.”
Hoffman’s arrival at UBC signals a major shift in her research.  She aims to launch a new paradigm of 3D printing at the atomic scale to create new quantum materials.

“UBC’s quantum matter community is extremely excited to welcome Dr. Hoffman, with whom we had the privilege of collaborating on major scientific breakthroughs while she was at Harvard,” said Andrea Damascelli, a professor with the Department of Physics and Astronomy. “She will help propel UBC’s quantum material research effort to the very forefront of the field.”

Hoffman is UBC’s second CERC; she follows Dr. Matthew Farrer who joined the Faculty of Medicine in 2010 to study Parkinson’s and neurogenerative disorders.  The federal government has committed to supporting three chairholders at UBC.

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