Professor Shivaji Sondhi

Meet...Shivaji Sondhi

Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics

We work among extraordinary people doing extraordinary things; get to know some of them by reading these quick-fire interviews.

Name: Shivaji Sondhi    
Job title: Wykeham Professor of Physics

What are you currently working on?
I am thinking about the old problem of glass formation with Professors John Chalker and Zohar Nussinov who is visiting us from the US. I am also thinking about the intersection of quantum many body physics, quantum information theory and the quantum hardware being created in the quest to build a quantum computer. Apart from research, I am thinking about the future of Physics teaching in the information age with several colleagues and about the institutional arrangements needed to support theoretical physics at Oxford in the decade ahead.

Describe a typical day
I work from home during the morning and from Beecroft in the afternoon. The mornings are some combination of thinking about some aspect of research and academic and personal 'logistics'. Afternoons are centred around in-person discussions with students, postdocs and faculty colleagues or seminars. Occasional research calls to the US after dinner. Mostly family time including providing GCSE support for my younger daughter.

If you had an entire day at your disposal (not at work), what would be your ideal way to spend it?
Assuming I am not doing physics: read a book at a coffee shop in the morning, take a walk in the afternoon and go to an opera or a concert of Hindustani vocal music in the evening. Of course, with my family participating depending on their interest and availability. My wife would certainly join for the concert, music being one of our major shared interests.

What is your favourite place in Oxford?
University Parks

What discovery would you like to see in your lifetime?
The discovery of limits to the exact validity of quantum mechanics. It would 'restart' physics in a really interesting way. I am, however, not holding my breath on this.