Hung Ling Yan

  • Fellowship in 2012 at Harvard University

Dr Hung has aspired to be a theoretical physicist, to understand the world around us through the beauty and rigour of Mathematics since she was a child. She has been  very fortunate to be able to pursue her dreams in the most stimulating places around the world, inspired by many great scientists and thinkers of our age. She did her undergraduate degree at the University of Oxford, and subsequently her PhD at the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Prof. M. Green, one of the founding fathers of String theory. She began cross-disciplinary research, working on the intersection of high energy physics and condensed matter physics during her three-year post-doctoral tenure at Perimeter Institute, Canada. In 2012, She was awarded the Croucher Fellowship and continued research at Harvard with Prof. Sachdev, who is a pioneer in applying methods in string theory to the study of condensed matter systems. She is currently Professor at the physics department at Fudan University, Shanghai, China. 


She works on the study of entanglement entropy through the use of string theoretic methods called the AdS/CFT correspondence. The entanglement entropy is an important quantitative measure of quantum entanglement and its properties are crucial to our understanding of the nature of quantum entanglement and different phases of matter. With the help of ground breaking results in string theory, namely the  AdS/CFT  correspondence, which relates a field theoretic problem to a computation in classical gravity in certain limits, it offers very powerful and novel techniques to extract analytically the physical observables and many other properties of a wide class of models, among them also the entanglement entropy. Currently she is trying to study properties of a system away from equilibrium, and the AdS/CFT correspondence offers tremendous help here. She is hoping to adopt a hybrid approach, via a combination of conventional field theoretic techniques supplemented by these string theoretic tools to unravel the nature of quantum entanglement and to explore new phases of matter in such dynamical settings.