Professor Stephen Dugdale - inaugural lecture

‌‌Professor of Physics‌‌
School of Physics

This lecture took place on Wednesday 9 March 2016

‌Fermi Sea Fever

All solids contain electrons - so what distinguishes a metal from an insulator?  In this lecture I shall show how one of the earliest applications of quantum mechanics was able to answer that question.  Electrons must follow a particular set of quantum rules (called Fermi-Dirac statistics), and our current understanding of the metallic state revolves around the idea of a “Fermi sea” of electrons and the concept of a "Fermi surface” as the surface of that sea.  But the sea is often not so tranquil; there are instabilities, and the shape of the Fermi surface is often to blame.  I shall describe how we study this rather mysterious Fermi surface using experimental and theoretical techniques, and explain its continuing importance in understanding the properties of metals.