Ushnish Ray

  Link to my CV.

I received my Bachelors degree from Colgate University, NY in 2008, graduating Summa  Cum Laude with High Honors in both Physics and Computer Science. Following this, I received a fellowship from the Physics department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to pursue a Ph.D. I received my degree in 2015, having spent two years in experimental Atomic-Molecular-Optical (AMO) physics research under Dr. Benjamin Lev, and five years at the Institute of Condensed Matter Theory under the auspices of Dr. David Ceperley.

My experience with the two different approaches (viz., experiment and theory), allowed me to appreciate the importance of the different types of tools needed to address frontier questions. So, while my core approach to physics problems is a theoretical one, involving the use of both analytical and computational techniques, I also endeavor to collaborate closely with experiments in order gain insight into challenging problems. 

My dissertation was focused on studying the effects of disorder on quantum phases such as superfluids. Disorder-induced phenomena entails some of the most difficult problems in physics and are rife with open questions. The field of artificial materials constitutes a recent innovation that uses traditional AMO approaches to delve into fundamental questions in Condensed Matter (CM). The synthesis of such materials have allowed for a novel synergistic approach between experiment and theory to gain insights into disordered systems. My collaborative effort with Dr. Brian DeMarco's experimental group at UIUC undertook a comprehensive study of the  strongly correlated physics  in the presence of disorder in a Bosonic system. The project entailed some of the largest  Quantum Monte-Carlo simulations  to date, which were performed on supercomputers such as  Titan

During my first year in Dr. Garnet Chan's group as a postdoctoral fellow, we worked in close collaboration with Dr. David Limmer (now at U. C. Berkeley) on non-equilibrium systems. We have developed powerful scalable computational techniques to access observables that yield insight into the physics of non-equilibrium stationary states based on the large deviation principle. Dr. Chan's group is now located at Caltech, where, among other things, we are interested in answering questions pertaining to high temperature superconductivity,  topological superconductors and the role of electron-phonon coupling in a variety of contexts. 

Apart from fundamental research, I am also keenly interested in computational and other technologies (such as control systems), including novel implementations of neural networks, network security and so forth. I am always on the look out for fun side projects in different contexts, as I think a hybrid approach towards learning keeps my mind engaged and enables me to think non-linearly and make global connections.

Outside of work, I enjoy socializing and communicating with people from different backgrounds. I particularly enjoy explaining physics and the "quantum-classical connection" to non-experts. I find it very illuminating to work through and adapt to another person's way of thinking in order to convey challenging concepts. Playing with my dog, reading, Tango, movies, cooking, food and wine are my immediate avenues of solace and relaxation. I also enjoy traveling and hiking.