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NWO awarded Projectruimte grants to UvA physicist Wouter Waalewijn, and Leiden physicists Koenraad Schalm and Jan Zaanen. Waalewijn will use the grant to study new methods for precise predictions at the Large Hadron Collider. Schalm and Zaanen will use the funding to further study the so called ‘strange metals’.

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The board of NWO’s Domain Science granted funding for a total of eight proposals in the NWO Physics Projectruimte, a granting instrument for small-scale projects that propose innovative fundamental physics research that has a scientific, industrial or social urgency. The eight grants total an amount of 3.5 million euros.

Wouter Waalewijn, University of Amsterdam.

Precise predictions at LHC

Wouter Waalewijn's Projectruimte grant was awarded for his research on new methods needed to make precise predictions for the processes observed at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva. The Large Hadron Collider is entering an era where precision measurements are the key to possible discoveries. Indications of new physics may lie hidden as faint signals, that will be revealed as experimental uncertainties decrease, making it crucial to have the precise theoretical predictions to compare with. The researchers propose a new method to perform these calculations, that will make them easier and therefore available for more processes.

From black holes to strange metals

NWO has awarded a Projectruimte grant to Leiden physicists Koenraad Schalm and Jan Zaanen to study ‘strange metals’. These materials are alleged to follow the bizarre laws of quantum mechanics even at everyday length scales. High temperature superconductors are a well known class of materials that exhibits this kind of behaviour.

Jan Zaanen (left) and Koenraad Schalm, both Leiden University.

Schalm and Zaanen will focus on one aspect of strange metals’ abnormal behavior: the time they need to distribute heat throughout the entire material starting from one place. Remarkably enough, this solely depends on the temperature and Planck’s constant. The researchers want to show that this is because strange metals indeed purely consist of quantum material. Subsequently, they draw a surprising parallel with black holes, which exhibit the same behavior.

About NWO

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research is an independent directive body with a legally established mission and tasks. NWO falls under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.  

The NWO Physics Projectruimte is one of the funding instruments that NWO has for supporting physics research. Researchers can continuously submit proposals to the NWO Physics Projectruimte until 1 May 2018. The proposals will be evaluated in the order in which they are received. From 1 August 2018 onwards, researchers will be able to submit proposals for two new funding instruments of the NWO Domain Science.

NWO press release about the grants