Ep17: Quantum Alchemy – Suchitra Sebastian (Bonus Episode)

Image credit: Suchitra Sebastian

Image credit: Suchitra Sebastian

Suchitra Sebastian studies quantum matter, and in particular - superconductors.

I think the more confident and comfortable, and free young people … will both make them a better a physicist, and a physicist who is in love with what they do
— Dr Suchitra Sebastian

Superconductors are already in use throughout modern day life - they're found in MRI machines, and at the LHC at CERN, amongst others. However they often have to be kept at very low temperatures (requiring power-hungry refrigeration systems) or else they lose the superconductivity.

By researching and developing our knowledge of these systems, we might one be able to use superconductors to replace the existing cables that link together power stations and homes. For example, linking wind farms deep in isolated areas to urban areas, without energy being lost in the cables along the way.

You can read more about Suchitra on here and here, find out more about her L'Orêal-UNESCO for Women in Science Fellowship, and read her interview with the Hindu Times.

You can also read her article on 'impossible materials' for The Conversation.

This bonus episode was co-produced with Hannah Stern, and recorded in partnership with Cavendish inspiring Women, a group based at the University of Cambridge who aim to raise the visibility of women working in physics. It forms part of a series of short interviews profiling scientists and the research they do.