Dr Steven Thomson

Research Fellow at Freie Universität Berlin

Dr Steven Thomson is a theoretical condensed matter physicist and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at Freie Universität Berlin. He obtained his PhD from the University of St Andrews in 2016, followed by postdoctoral positions at the Institut de Physique Theorique (CEA Paris-Saclay, France), the Ecole Polytechnique (Palaiseau, France) and Collège de France (Paris, France), before taking up his current position in Berlin. He is also a freelance science writer who runs a popular science blog (brokensymmetryblog.co.uk) as well as an academic blog (steventhomson.co.uk) and keeps an active social media presence as a scientist and science communicator (@PhysicsSteve on Twitter).

His research focuses on the emergent behaviour of complex quantum systems, where a collection of particles can behave like more than the sum of their parts. In particular, he studies the role of disorder and randomness in quantum matter, and how disorder can be harnessed to stabilize unusual phases of matter that do not exist in nature. This work could be used to aid the development of ‘designer’ quantum materials with properties tailored for near-future quantum technologies and quantum computers, and has deep fundamental connections with mathematical processes important for neural networks and machine learning. He also works on developing cutting-edge numerical techniques for the simulation of many-body quantum systems, with a particular current interest in exploring the potential of GPUs (graphics processing units) for quantum simulation.