Coffee Meeting Log


Welcome to the new world, "Particle Zoo 2.0"

Takumi Doi (Senior Research Scientist, iTHEMS)

In 1960s, many new "fundamental" particles were found and called "Particle Zoo". Their systematic classification lead to the discovery of elementary particles, quarks. Since the beginning of 21c, however, a new kind of mysterious (exotic) particles are unexpectedly being discovered. In this talk, I will introduce this new world of "Particle Zoo 2.0" and its impact.


The undervalued and misunderstood importance of taxonomy in century 21th

José Said Gutiérrez-Ortega (Special Postdoctoral Researcher, iTHEMS)

Taxonomy, the branch of biology that classifies the living beings and give them scientific names, is not a hypothesis-driven science but a descriptive discipline that suffers of a great undervaluation in century 21th. Taxonomic papers will never be published in high impact journals, they won’t get many citations (if any), and getting funding for pure taxonomic research is basically impossible. Furthermore, taxonomy is often criticized for its apparent arbitrariness on how researchers decide to give name to a species, and attaching a scientific name to a group of organisms often seems trivial in a moment when in biology the definition of “species" is heavily discussed. Certainly, this is not a good moment for a biologist to specialize in taxonomy. (Un)fortunately, my research line somehow directed me to become a “part-time taxonomist”, which compels me to try to understand and overcome the challenges of this discipline. I will tell a few of my experiences as a taxonomist and will tell you about, in my opinion, the hottest topic in the modern history of taxonomy: should taxonomy be reinvented by updating its conventional rules?


Do Mathematicians Dream of Quantum Field Theory?

Yuto Moriwaki (Special Postdoctoral Researcher, iTHEMS)

Leibniz discovered differentiation independently of "classical mechanics" and Riemann discovered Riemannian geometry independently of "theory of gravity". Let's ask: "Will Quantum field theory (a fundamental theory of physics) be reconstructed from pure mathematics?". Here I will talk about what I feel quantum field theory looks like as future mathematics based on my current understanding and expectations. One mathematician said that "quantum field theory is the mathematics of the 22nd century." So this is an extremely incomplete and informal talk, so please listen with an easy mind and a cup of coffee :)


What is a path integral?

Christy Koji Kelly (Special Postdoctoral Researcher, iTHEMS)

Path integrals are an important technical tool in physics for describing quantum systems. We will try to provide an intuitive account of why they appear in quantum theory and show why they are mathematically difficult to understand.


How were elements synthesized?

Tomoya Naito (Special Postdoctoral Researcher, iTHEMS)

I will explain how elements were synthesized in the Universe, which is a important topic in nuclear physics.


Two reasons why hydrogen exists

Tetsuo Hatsuda (Program Director, iTHEMS)


Brane Tiling: a bridge between geometry and gauge theory

Dongwook Ghim (Postdoctoral Researcher, iTHEMS)

I will quickly overview the story of brane tiling, also known as dimer model, involving its relation with supersymmetric gauge theory and toric Calabi-Yau geometries.



Pratik Nandy (Postdoctoral Researcher, iTHEMS)


YouTube: Resurgence: making sense out of non-convergent seriesPublic


Resurgence: making sense out of non-convergent series

Masazumi Honda (Senior Research Scientist, iTHEMS)

Interesting problems are often difficult to solve and this is why they are interesting. For such problems, we often aprroximate the answers by considering perturbation around solvable cases. Perturbative series obtained in such a way are often not convergent and their naive summation to all orders are divergent. In this talk, I will introduce techniques to make sense out of non-convergent perturbative series.

YouTube: How can we use a quantum computer to study the ground state of the hydrogen molecule?Public


How can we use a quantum computer to study the ground state of the hydrogen molecule?

Steffen Backes (Senior Research Scientist, iTHEMS / Senior Research Scientist, First-Principles Materials Science Research Team, RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science (CEMS))

Quantum computers differ fundamentally from classical computers, since their main computing unit, the "Qubit", is a quantum-mechanical object. But how can we actually exploit this "quantumness" to study or simulate a physical system? In this coffee talk I want to discuss the basic principles of Quantum computing and present just the smallest set of tools we need to obtain the ground state wave function and ground state energy of (a simplified model of) the hydrogen molecule.


Asymptotics of period integrals

Yuto Yamamoto (Special Postdoctoral Researcher, iTHEMS)

A period integral is one of the most fundamental quantities of complex manifolds. In the talk, I will explain a technique of tropical geometry to compute the asymptotics of period integrals for a one-parameter family of complex plane curves.


Surface interaction between dust grains: an introduction to JKR theory

Misako Tatsuuma (Research Scientist, iTHEMS)

The planet formation process is the growth from sub-micrometer-sized cosmic dust grains to thousand-kilometer-sized planets. This growth process has broadly two phases: the growth from dust grains to kilometer-sized planetesimals, mainly driven by intermolecular forces like van der Waals forces and hydrogen bonds, and the subsequent growth from planetesimals to planets, governed by gravitational forces. In the aggregation process of dust grains, the interactions between their surfaces play a fundamental role. In the interaction model known as Johnson-Kendall-Roberts (JKR) theory, we treat dust grains as elastic spheres with sticky force caused by intermolecular forces and parameterized by surface energy. In this talk, I will provide an overview of the estimation of elastic forces and surface sticking forces.


Elements of majorization
and its properties

Ryosuke Iritani (Senior Research Scientist, iTHEMS)

I will explain about the basics of majorization and Schur-convexity. Specifically, I will first talk about the definition of majorizaiton. Second, I will explain about Schur-convexit functions as a class of majorization-monotone functions. Finally I will talk about the applications, including how the second law of thermodynamics can prove the arithmetic-geometric means inequality.


Introduction to symmetry and band topology

Seishiro Ono (Special Postdoctoral Researcher, iTHEMS)

The last decade has seen significant advances in the understanding of topological materials. In this talk, I will briefly discuss what topological insulators are and how they can be efficiently distinguished from atomic insulators.


How to mark IMO papers

Hiroki Kodama (Visiting Scientist, iTHEMS / Research Fellow, Center for Mathematical Engineering, Musashino University)

I will report my experience in marking papers in International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). I will explain why and how it is difficult to mark IMO papers. You can find the set of problems at I was in charge of Problem 4., so if you are interested please try to solve it. Problem 1 and 4 are considered to be easy (as an IMO problem, of course).

YouTube: Applications and Extensions of the Nielsen-Ninomiya Theorem in Condensed Matter PhysicsPublic


Applications and Extensions of the Nielsen-Ninomiya Theorem in Condensed Matter Physics

Ching-Kai Chiu (Senior Research Scientist, iTHEMS)

Over four decades ago, Nielsen and Ninomiya presented a groundbreaking discovery showing that chiral fermions on a lattice must obey the principle of fermion doubling, ensuring an equivalent count of left-handed and right-handed fermions. This pivotal theorem has found significant applications in the realm of condensed matter physics, most notably in the study of topological states of matter. Intriguingly, a deeper exploration beyond the theorem's original scope reveals that, with the preservation of certain additional symmetries, the symmetries necessitate a minimum of more than two handed fermions on the lattice.


Introduction to attosecond physics

Hidetoshi Taya (Special Postdoctoral Researcher, iTHEMS)

The winners of the Nobel prize 2023 in physics were Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz and Anne L’Huillier, who made great contributions to the foundation of attosecond physics. Although I’m don’t work exactly in this field but in something related, so I’d like to take this opportunity to briefly review the idea of attosecond physics and its relation to my studies on high-energy physics.


Enhance machine learning model in molecule science by multiscale correlation

Yaokun Lei (Postdoctoral Researcher, iTHEMS / Postdoctoral Researcher, Theoretical Molecular Science Laboratory, RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research (CPR))

Correlation stands as a foundational concept in molecular dynamics simulations. It underpins various mechanisms in chemical and biological phenomena, revealing how different degrees of freedom interact to give rise to specific macroscopic events. Essentially, researchers aim to unveil the intricate structure of the n-dimensional variable space to pinpoint regions that exert significant influence on the model or observed output. Armed with this knowledge, they can construct more refined parametric models for improved prediction and control of system behavior.


A thermodynamical formalism for Kählerian spacetime

Eiji Inoue (Special Postdoctoral Researcher, iTHEMS)

When a Kähler manifold X admits a unique "nice/stable" shape (cf. Kähler-Einstein metric, cscK metric), one can imagine there is a time-dependent equation (flow) on shape which stabilizes any initial shape to the stable shape. One might speculate any X admits such a "nice/stable" shape, but it is not the case. It is then interesting to see the limit behavior (canonical boundary condition) of the flow when X does not admit "nice/stable" shape. One hopes to characterize such canonical boundary condition as a unique maximizer of some functional on the space of boundary conditions (formalized as non-archimedean metrics), independent of initial metric. I will sketch the structure of one such framework on canonical boundary condition, in which the functional is nalogous to free energy and is deeply related to Perelman entropy.

YouTube: COVID-19: then, now, and into the futurePublic


COVID-19: then, now, and into the future

Catherine Beauchemin (Deputy Program Director, iTHEMS / Professor, Department of Physics, Toronto Metropolitan University, Canada)

As we are (hopefully, possibly) finally reaching the peak of Japan's 9th COVID-19 wave --- which began around mid-March 2023, when the government lifted the mask mandate --- I would like to present a perspective on the large-scale epidemic that was, still is, and what we can hope for or expect in the future. I would like to make this a very informal talk: I want you to feel free to interrupt and ask questions. I made sure not to prepare too much material to leave time for lively interactions.