Vedika Khemani, assistant professor of physics at Stanford University, has been awarded a New Horizons in Physics Prize from the Breakthrough Prize Foundation. Khemani was recognized “for pioneering theoretical work formulating novel phases of non-equilibrium quantum matter, including time crystals.”
Time crystals got their name for the fact that, like crystals, they are structurally arranged in a repeating pattern. But, while standard crystals – like diamonds or salt – have an arrangement that repeats in space, time crystals repeat across time forever. Importantly, they do so without any input of energy, like a clock that runs forever without batteries. Khemani’s work offered a theoretical formulation for the first time crystals, as well as a blueprint for their experimental creation. But she emphasizes that time crystals are only one of the exciting potential outcomes of out-of-equilibrium quantum physics, which is still a nascent field.
Excerpted from Stanford News, "Stanford's Vedika Khemani wins Breakthrough New Horizons Prize for work on time crystals" September 13, 2021.