Skip to content Skip to navigation

Sean Hartnoll

Sean Hartnoll

Associate Professor of Physics


I am a theorist working on problems in condensed matter, high energy and gravitational physics.

The anomalous transport behavior of unconventional materials -- such as high temperature superconductors -- is a longstanding theoretical challenge that I have approached from several angles. I have suggested that transport in these materials may be controlled by fundamental limitations imposed by quantum statistical mechanics. I have also argued that hydrodynamic effects may be ubiquitous in strongly correlated materials and have investigated several different classes of hydrodynamic transport regimes in condensed matter systems. Both of these ideas are currently under active experimental investigation.

I am also working on understanding aspects of the emergence of spacetime from large N matrix quantum mechanics models. These can be thought of as the simplest models of holographic duality, and will likely hold the key to understanding the emergence of local physics as well as black holes.

Along with many other theorists, I have found in recent years that the holographic correspondence, the physics of quantum entanglement and quantum field theory more generally have led to strong and unanticipated connections between central concerns in condensed matter and high energy physics.

Lists of my publications and of recorded talks and lectures can be found following the links on the right.

Academic Appointments

Associate Professor, Physics

Honors & Awards

New Horizons in Physics Prize, Fundamental Physics Prize Foundation (2014)
Presidential Early Career Award (PECASE), Department of Energy (2014)
Early Career Award, Department of Energy (2012)
Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, Sloan Foundation (2011)
Terman Fellowship, Stanford (2011)

Professional Education

PhD, Cambridge University, Theoretical Physics (2005)
Part III, Cambridge University, Theoretical Physics (2001)
BA, Cambridge University, Physics (2000)