Researcher

Scientia Professor Victor Flambaum

My Expertise

Physics, including theoretical physics, atomic physics, nuclear physics, elementary particle and high energy physics, astrophysics and cosmology

Field of Research (FoR)

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Biography

1974 B.Sc. (Physics) with Excellence, Novosibirsk State University, Russia.

1978 Ph.D. Novosibirsk Institute of Nuclear Physics.

1987 Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (full professor degree). Novosibirsk Institute of Nuclear Physics.

1974-1991 Institute of Nuclear Physics (from PhD student to Leading Scientist) and Novosibirsk State University (from Assistant to Full Professor).

1991--present: Chair of Theoretical Physics,...view more

1974 B.Sc. (Physics) with Excellence, Novosibirsk State University, Russia.

1978 Ph.D. Novosibirsk Institute of Nuclear Physics.

1987 Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (full professor degree). Novosibirsk Institute of Nuclear Physics.

1974-1991 Institute of Nuclear Physics (from PhD student to Leading Scientist) and Novosibirsk State University (from Assistant to Full Professor).

1991--present: Chair of Theoretical Physics, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Since 2003 - Scientia Professor (highest institutional accolade).

Visiting Fellowships:

2016-2020 Gutenberg Fellowship, Germany, with 600 000 Euro= $ 970 000 research grant.

2017 Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics Visiting Fellowship (USA)

2005-2007 Argonne Fellowship (USA).

2003-2004 Member, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

1998 Princeton University (Visiting Fellow)

1996 Harvard University (Visiting Fellow and Leader of the topical group on the violation of the fundamental symmetries at the Institute for Theoretical atomic and Molecular Physics).

1990-1991 Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics.

 

Over 500 publications in atomic, nuclear, elementary particle, molecular, solid state, statistical physics, general relativity and astrophysics including 61 papers in Science, Nature-Physics, Phys. Rev. X and Phys. Rev. Lett.,  7 Editor's suggestions (best papers), 7 featured in Physics (American Physical Society  highlights), about 300 papers in journals listed in the  Nature Index list of the world best journals (top 1%).

Longer papers are in Physical Review A,B,C,D,E, R and leading specialised journals.

Over 30 000 citations, rate over 2000 new citations per year, h=91 (GS).

Over  200 invited talks at international conferences and hundreds of invited talks at universities. 

 

 


My Grants

 24 ARC grants including 2 Australian Professorial Fellowships. Currently I have maximal allowed number (2) of ARC Discovery grants. 

  • ARC Discovery grant 2020-2022, $ 420,000.
  • ARC Discovery grant with J. Berengut 2019-2021, $ 180,000.
  • Gutenberg Fellowship with 600 000 Euro ($970 000) research grant, 2016-2020.

My Qualifications

1987 Doctor of Science (full professor degree).

1978 Ph.D.

1974 B.Sc. (Physics) with Excellence, Novosibirsk State University, Russia.


My Awards

MAJOR PRIZES, MEDALS, AWARDS and HONOURS

Prizes:

2015 NSW Premier’s Prize for Excellence in Mathematics, Earth Sciences, Chemistry and Physics.

2012 Humboldt Research Award (Senior), German prize for international scientists, 75 000 Euro

2012 Eureka Prize for Scientific Research (Australia)

1983 Lenin Komsomol Prize (highest USSR prize for young scientists with age limit 33).

Medals:

2009 Lyle Medal (Australian Academy of Science, for research in Mathematical and Physical Sciences)

2009 Boas Medal (Australian Institute of Physics)

2002 Centenary Medal (Australia).

Awards:

1981 SD USSR Academy of Science award.

1974 Award for best undergraduate student research work, all-USSR competition.

2005 Award for excellence in postgraduate supervision.

Visiting Fellowships:

2016-2020 Gutenberg Fellowship, Germany, with 600 000 Euro= $ 970 000 research grant.

2017 Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics Visiting Fellowship (USA)

2005-2007 Argonne Fellowship (USA).

2003-2004 Member, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

1998 Princeton University (Visiting Fellow)

1996 Harvard University (Visiting Fellow and Leader of the topical group on the violation of the fundamental symmetries at the Institute for Theoretical atomic and Molecular Physics).

1990-1991 Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics.

Fellow:

2000- Fellow of Australian Academy of Science

2010- Fellow of American Physical Society(less than 0.5% of members elected Fellows per year)

2017- Fellow of the Institute of Physics, UK

2013- Fellow of Royal Society NSW

2013- Member, The Foundation Questions Institute

2003-  Scientia Professor (highest institutional accolade)

 


My Research Activities

Pioneering works which created new fields of research, led to discoveries and new theories.

1. Prediction of million times enhancement of violation of fundamental symmetry (parity P) in neutron-nucleus reactions near p-wave compound resonances. This prediction opened a new area of research and initiated numerous experimental and theoretical studies around the world which lasted for 20 years, with special conferences. This work was awarded the Lenin Komsomol prize.

2. The first theory of the nuclear anapole moment (a magnetic moment violating fundamental symmetries, P and C) and proposals for atomic and molecular experiments which led to the discovery of this moment by the group led by Nobel Laureate C. Wieman. This was the first observation of an electromagnetic moment violating fundamental symmetries and a new method to study parity violating nuclear forces. This discovery is in the history of science. Extensive experimental and theoretical activity on this topic continues around the world.

3. A new very powerful method for the highest precision atomic calculations: perturbation theory in screened electron interaction with all-orders summation of dominating diagrams. Numerous applications.

4. First accurate many-body calculations of violation of fundamental symmetries, Parity (P) and Time reversal (T), which are used for testing unification theories in atomic experiments.

5. Prediction of Fr atom spectra (before measurements) which helped to detect these spectra. Prediction of unknown spectra and probabilities of electromagnetic transitions in unstable and superheavy elements, and in highly charged ions.

6. Definition and first calculations of the nuclear Schiff moments produced by T and P violating nuclear forces, and calculations of atomic electric dipole moments (EDM) produced by these nuclear moments. New method to test unification theories.

7. Prediction of new phenomenon - enhanced collective nuclear moments violating P and T invariance. This prediction motivated a new generation of measurements and calculations of atomic EDMs for testing unification theories.

8. Theoretical discovery and study of chaotic many-electron compound eigenstates in atoms and ions.

9. Statistical theory of finite systems (excited nuclei, atoms, molecules) based on properties of chaotic compound states. This is a new general statistical theory that has a huge number of potential applications including methods to calculate matrix elements and amplitudes between chaotic eigenstates. Specific predictions include the enhancement of weak interactions and effects of violation of the fundamental symmetries, electron recombination and combination (inelastic) photon scattering, and suppression of the photoionization via many-electron resonances. Time-dependent problems such as an increase of entropy, transition to the equilibrium state and (non-exponential) decay of the doorway states have also been considered.

10. Formulae for atomic scattering length and effective range. ¾ of atoms have positive scattering length and stable Bose (or Fermi) condensate, ¼ have unstable condensate. This work is described in textbooks (for example, in the 3rd edition of Theoretical Atomic Physics by H. Friedrich)

11. Theory of the exchange-assisted tunnelling. The exchange interaction and correlations radically change the behaviour of a quantum particle in a classically forbidden region. Instead of the conventional exponential decrease, the electron wave function decreases as r - 2 inside an atom or molecule, and as

r - 3 , r - 3.5 and r - 4 in 1D, 2D and 3D crystals, respectively. An example of the application is the enhanced annihilation of a positron with the inner shell electrons.

12. Proposal of new methods to search for space-time variation of fundamental constants including the Many-Multiplet method in astronomy and comparison of frequencies of two optical clocks in the laboratory. Proposals and calculations of the enhanced effects in atoms, molecules and nuclei. Now, the majority of the precise results in this very popular area of research from Big Bang nucleosynthesis and quasar spectra to atomic clocks are based on our ideas and calculations.

13. Proposals of new atomic clocks of higher projected accuracy and smaller size, including “magic angle” and “micromagic” clocks, highly charged ion clocks, clocks with zero thermal shift, and specific schemes for nuclear clocks. Proposals of the clocks with strongly enhanced sensitivity to the variation of the fundamental constants.

14. First periodic table for a new type of atomic system – positron-atom bound states. Calculations of positron-atom bound states and resonances for all atoms, identification of atoms that can bind positrons.

15. Cosmic sources of violation of the fundamental symmetries, new effects of Dark matter in atoms and pulsars. The suggested effects are linear in a very small constant that quantifies the interaction between dark matter particles and ordinary matter. This gives an enormous advantage. Previously discussed effects are quadratic or quartic.

16. A new method to detect cosmic topological defects using the pulsar timing: the topological defects change the pulsar rotation frequency.

17. Quantum effects create black hole absorption properties before the actual formation of the black hole. Discovery of a dense spectrum of narrow resonances in near-singular metrics. Amazingly, capture of quantum particles to these very-long-lifetime resonances imitates the black hole absorption with the same capture cross section.

18. It is shown that Dark matter may be a source of the space-time variation of the fundamental constants. Using this connection the limits on the quadratic interaction of light Dark matter with photons, nucleons, electrons and Higgs boson have been improved up to 15 orders of magnitude. Limits on interaction of Dark matter with W and Z bosons have been established for the first time.

19. Laboratory limits on the anisotropy of the speed of light (studied in the famous Michelson-Morley experiment) have been improved by 10 orders of magnitude. This anisotropy leads to anisotropy of the Coulomb interaction, which affects atomic spectra.

20. Exponential enhancement of nuclear fusion reactions by condensed matter environment (motivated by the “cold fusion” accelerator experiments). In the projectile-target collision of light nuclei (e.g. d+d) a half of energy goes to the motion of the centre of mass. If the target nucleus is placed inside a crystal consisting of heavy atoms, after several “preliminary” collisions the momentum of the centre of mass may be transferred to heavy atoms without energy loss, i.e. all the energy goes to the relative motion (the projectile-target case is transformed into the colliding beams case). This increase of the relative velocity exponentially increases the penetration through the Coulomb barrier. Our calculations have shown that the exponential enhancement of the nuclear fusion happens at the energy of the projectile smaller than1 KeV.

21. Extension of the famous Schiff theorem about the screening of the static external electric field in atoms to the cases of an oscillating electric field and oscillating nuclear EDM. Applications include measurability of nuclear electric dipole moments, search for dark matter and effects of atomic electrons on nuclear reactions.

 


My Research Supervision


Areas of supervision

Theoretical atomic, nuclear, particle physics,  astrophysics, general relativity  and cosmology.  Altogether I  supervised 24 PhD (plus co-supervised 8 PhD) and 34 Honours projects. In 2005 I was awarded by UNSW for excellence in PhD supervision.


Currently supervising

2 PhD students and 2 honours  students


My Engagement

Member of International Advisory committees for a number of conferences, organiser of session on Variation of the fundamental constants, violation of the fundamental symmetries and dark matter at The Sixteenth Marcel Grossmann Meeting on Recent Developments in Theoretical and Experimental General Relativity, Astrophysics and Relativistic Field Theories (MG16). I also organised such session at MG15, MG14 and MG13 (every three years) and satellite conference on a similar topic at International Conference on Atomic Physics (ICAP22). 

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Location

Old main building, room 59B.

Contact

61-2-93854571
61-2-93856060