Dr Steven J. Thomson is currently a Research Scientist at IBM Research UK, working on the application of quantum computers to complex quantum systems. He is the host of the insideQuantum podcast, funded by the Unitary Fund.
He has previously been a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at Freie Universität Berlin on the European Commission project ‘Ergodicity Breaking in Quantum Matter’, working in the group of Prof. Jens Eisert. Before this, he was a postdoctoral researcher at Collège de France, a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre de Physique Théorique, École Polytechnique, working with Prof. Laurent Sanchez-Palencia, and the Institut de Physique Théorique (CEA Paris-Saclay), working with Dr Marco Schiró.
His main research interests are the non-equilibrium dynamics of strongly correlated quantum systems in the presence of quenched random disorder, particularly many-body localisation and quantum glasses. He is currently particularly interested in developing cutting-edge numerical methods, with a focus on unitary flow techniques and tensor networks, as well as new techniques at the intersection of classical high-performance computing with quantum computing.
He obtained his PhD from the University of St Andrews in 2016, supervised primarily by Dr Frank Krüger (UCL), with Dr Chris Hooley (St Andrews) as a second supervisor. During his PhD, he worked on disorder-induced phase reconstruction near ferromagnetic quantum critical points, spin density wave phases, fermionic nodal hypersurfaces, ergodicity breaking in disordered bosonic systems, magnon glass phases in dimerised ferromagnets and collaborated with experimental physicists to design new protocols for quantum gas microscopes to measure exotic disordered phases of matter.
PhD, Theory of Condensed Matter, 2016
University of St Andrews and the Scottish Doctoral Training Centre in Condensed Matter Physics
MPhys (Hons) Theoretical Physics, 2012
University of St Andrews
Studied localization in quasiperiodic systems in the group of Dr Marco Schiró, and aided in studies of coupled Sachdev-Ye-Kitaev models.
Worked on tensor network simulations for non-equilibrium quantum dynamics in the group of Prof. Laurent Sanchez-Palencia. Responsibilities included:
Investigated many-body localisation and quantum glasses in the group of Dr Marco Schiró.
In addition to my research work, I’ve been a freelance science writer since 2012/13. My articles have been published by the following outlets.
While a PhD student at the University of St Andrews, I took on the role of local outreach co-ordinator for the Condensed Matter Doctoral Training Centre, which had a strong student-led outreach programme. This role included:
During my time at the University of St Andrews, I was involved in teaching/tutoring/demonstrating the following courses: