The Leverhulme Trust Board is pleased to announce the third of four winners of its 2020 Leverhulme International Professorships award. Professor Shivaji Sondhi will be joining the University of Oxford Department of Physics, appointed to the University’s Wykeham Professorship of Physics, a Leverhulme International Professorship and the Tencent Chair of Theoretical Physics.
The Trust supports research of outstanding originality and quality, which is fundamental or curiosity-driven, multidisciplinary and often high risk. Applicants were therefore invited to be bold in compiling their bids and the choice of research topic was open to the applicant university. The quality of the bids was exceptionally high and the task of selecting just four was correspondingly challenging. Niall FitzGerald, Chairman of the Leverhulme Trust Board, said:
“Through the Leverhulme International Professorship scheme the Trust aims to maintain the UK’s international standing as a world renowned research destination; open to outstanding talent and ideas from around the globe.”
“Professor Sondhi is a theoretical physicist working at the frontier of condensed matter physics. He has an exceptional record of achievement and we are thrilled that he is joining us,” welcomes Professor Ian Shipsey, Head of Department. “Shivaji’s research record is remarkable, with four field-changing discoveries so far: theoretical ideas that drove the first experimental observation of skyrmions (1993), the identification of microscopic models with spin liquid phases (2001), the prediction of magnetic monopoles in spin ice (2008) and the proposal that time crystals emerge in periodically driven systems (2016). The earlier three are now established as standard ideas in the field, taught in graduate courses around the world, while the most recent one is currently the subject of dedicated international conferences. These achievements derive from an extraordinarily deep level of scholarship and from close collaborations with the senior and junior colleagues around him.”
Sondhi joins the University of Oxford from Princeton University where he has been a professor of physics since 1995. His work has been recognised by many awards and prizes, including the European Physical Society Condensed Matter Division Europhysics Prize in 2012, Europe’s most prestigious prize in condensed matter physics. Professor Sondhi’s appointment will open new areas of discovery in fundamental science and is envisaged to have a major impact on UK research excellence and the vibrancy of physics as a discipline in the UK.
Details about the final winner of the 2020 Leverhulme International Professorship will be announced in due course; read more about the winners announced to date: