Printer Friendly Version (Minibio_new.php)
Professor Emeritus John Berlinsky  
Area: Condensed Matter Physics (Theoretical)
John Berlinsky
Location: ABB-321
Phone: 905-525-9140 ext 23178
Fax: (905)546-1252
  1. Letter to Grad Students

December 2009

Catherine Kallin
John Berlinsky
Department of Physics & Astronomy
McMaster University

Dear Prospective Graduate Student,

Our research is in the area of strongly correlated electronic systems. Much of our work is on the theory of frustrated magnets, high temperature superconductors and other novel superconductors. We are also interested in other systems where electron-electron interactions and quantum effects are important, such as spin chains and ladders, carbon nanotubes, and quantum Hall systems. Other faculty members at McMaster who work in the area of strongly correlated electronic systems include Professor Erik Sorensen and, on the experimental side, Professors Bruce Gaulin, Takashi Imai, Graeme Luke and Tom Timusk.

Currently, we have two PhD students, Philip Ashby and Saeed Zelli, and one postdoctoral fellow, Rahul Roy, in our group. Some of our recent graduates include Michael Young (now pursuing his PhD with Sung-Sik Lee), Eric Mills, Kiri Nichol, Fei Lin, Rastko Skepnik, Denis Dalidovich, Laura Filion, and Bo Zhou. We are interested in taking on new graduate students this year.

Here is a quick summary of some of the projects our group is currently working on. Philip Ashby is currently studying chiral p-wave superconductivity, which has been proposed as the state for strontium ruthenate. This is a novel state with a "topological order", which under certain conditions can support Majorana fermions and non-abelian statistics. Saeed Zelli is working on understanding the mysterious pseudogap phase of the high temperature superconducting cuprates. His work involves fairly large scale numerical calculations which include the effect of Gutzwiller projection (no double occupancy) which is believed to be important for this phase which arises from doping a Mott insulator. Rahul Roy works on topological insulators, systems which exhibit neither conventional spontaneous symmetry breaking or Fermi liquid behavior at low temperatures, but which have a type of subtle order and can be described by topological field theories. A chiral p-wave superconductor is one example, but other examples include quantum Hall states and novel states arising from a strong spin-orbit coupling in some semiconductor systems.

In collaboration with Xiaoliang Qi, a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford, one of us (Catherine Kallin) is also studying other problems related to chiral p-wave superconductivity and the puzzle of the "missing edge currents" predicted by theory by not observed in experiments. We are also working on a problem in frustrated quantum magnetism, stimulated by recent experiments on CsCuCl.

We are both members of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIAR) program on Superconductivity. This program runs an annual summer school which gives our graduate students and postdocs the opportunity to meet other students and researchers from across Canada who are working on research problems related to their own.

Both of us are also Affiliates of the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, and John Berlinsky is the Academic Program Director for Perimeter. Perimeter is launching a new graduate program, Perimeter Scholars International, and we expect some lively and interesting interactions to result from our involvement.

You can learn about where our former students and postdocs are now from our home webpage. You can also learn a bit about work from some of the general or review papers we have listed and/or linked to on our webpage. Please contact us at and if you think you might be interested in condensed matter theory or if you have any other questions.

Professor Catherine Kallin
Professor John Berlinsky