An image of the Radcliffe camera

Meeting Minds Oxford 2024

20 - 22 Sep 2024
Alumni events
The University of Oxford
Knowledge of physics?
No, knowledge of physics not required
For more information contact

Save the date for Meeting Minds* 2024!

Professor J.C. Séamus Davis will be talking as part of the central programme.

'Visualizing Quantum Matter at Atomic Scale'

Saturday 21 September, 9:30 to 10:30am at the Mathematical Institute.

Booking will open soon! Physics alumni will be able to attend this event for free. More information soon.


Everything around us, everything each of us has ever experienced, and virtually everything underpinning our technological society and economy is governed by quantum mechanics. Yet this most fundamental physical theory of nature often feels as if it is a set of somewhat eerie and counterintuitive ideas of no direct relevance to our lives. Why is this? One reason is that we cannot perceive the strangeness (and astonishing beauty) of the quantum mechanical phenomena all around us by using our own senses. 

I will describe the history of development of techniques that allow us to visualize electronic quantum phenomena and new states of quantum matter directly at the atomic scale. As recent examples, we will visually explore the previously unseen and very beautiful forms of quantum matter making up electronic liquid crystals [1,2], high temperature superconductors [2,3,4] and electron-pair crystals [5,6,7,8]. I will discuss the implications for fundamental physics research and also for advanced materials and new technologies, arising from quantum matter visualization.

1.    Science 344, 612 (2014)  
2.    Nature 570, 484 (2019) 
3.    Science 357, 75 (2017) 
4.    Science 364, 976 (2019) 
5.    Nature 532, 343 (2016)
6.    Nature 571, 234 (2020)
7.    Science 372, 1447 (2021) 
8.    Nature 618, 921 (2023)   

*Meeting Minds 2023 saw over 1,300 alumni join us back in Oxford for a stimulating weekend of academic talks featuring Theresa May and Chris Whitty, tours ranging from the Bodleian to Jericho and the Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Building, and interactive sessions including citizen science with Zooniverse, poster printing at Wytham Studio and a scratch choir performance.

Videos from the weekend can be viewed via My Oxford +