March 30, 2022
The research of JQI Fellow Alicia Kollár, who is also a Chesapeake Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland, embodies the give and take between physics and mathematics. In her lab, she brings abstract theories to life and in turn collaborates on new theorems. She has forged a research program of manipulating light on a chip, coaxing the light into behaving as though it lives on the surface of a sphere, or a mathematical abstraction known as a hyperbolic surface. She also collaborates with mathematicians, furthering both the understanding of what these chips can do and their underlying mathematics. A direct collaboration with pure mathematicians is uncommon for a physicist, particularly an experimentalist. But Kollár is no stranger to mathematics.