Radio Interview: Professor Charles Stafford

Feb. 14, 2017

By: Yemille Medina

"Wake up Tucson it's your town, get up and get involved!" This is the introduction to Wake Up Tucson on 1030 KVOI, with Chris DeSimone, a local radio station bringing to light different topics in our community. Recently, Professor Stafford was invited to participate on this morning show, discussing various topics from his life history to his recent research. Listen to the podcast (credit: Wake Up Tucson 1030 KVOI)

We commend Professor Stafford on having this opportunity to inform the community about research at the University of Arizona, Physics Department. A summary of Professor Stafford's and graduate student, Abhay Shastry, research and other informational articles have been included below.

Some like it hot: temperature and voltage in highly-excited quantum systems
by Abhay Shastry and Charles A. Stafford
published in Physical Review B 94, 155433 (2016)

A "hot wire" could mean high voltage or high temperature, but is there some deeper connection
between these two concepts? Temperature and voltage are two basic variables developed in the
nineteenth century in the fields of thermodynamics and electrodynamics. So it may come as a shock
that such basic notions have until now lacked a mathematically rigorous definition except for the case
of equilibrium, an idealized case that does not actually occur in nature, except perhaps for the
hypothesized heat death of the universe eons in the future. In this article, we develop a rigorous theory
of local thermoelectric measurements in systems far from equilibrium and show that the notion of
temperature in such a system is ambiguous without specifying the voltage, and vice versa. Our
findings have important implications for scanning probe measurements of voltage (scanning
potentiometry) and temperature (scanning thermometry), implying that significant errors are
unavoidable if the two quantities are not measured simultaneously. Our analysis also provides a proof
of the positivity of the Onsager matrix of linear response theory, a statement of the second law of
thermodynamics that has lacked an independent proof for 85 years.

Link to UANews release:

Link to Wildcat story:

Physical Review B: