Marcos Rigol, professor of physics, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), one of ten Eberly College of Science faculty members to receive this honor this year. Election as a Fellow is an honor bestowed by peers upon members of the AAAS, the world's largest general scientific society and the publisher of the journal Science. Rigol was selected for “distinguished contributions to the understanding of the quantum dynamics of equilibrium and non-equilibrium many-body states of matter.”
Rigol is a theoretical physicist whose research centers on understanding the dynamic behavior of quantum many-body systems—systems made of a large number of particles interacting with each other through the laws of quantum mechanics. His work falls into two categories: theoretical advances that push the frontiers of the field by revealing new insights into complex problems and the theoretical interpretation of experiments carried out in some of the world’s leading cold-atom laboratories.
Rigol’s key recent findings include advancing understanding of the long-time behavior of periodically driven quantum many-body systems, of prethermalization in quantum systems with weakly broken conservation laws, and of the entanglement structure of eigenstates of quantum many-body systems. His landmark paper from 2008 revealed new insights into the mechanism underlying the thermalization of isolated complex quantum systems and has been cited more than 1,300 times.
Rigol is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and currently serves as Past Chair of the society’s Division of Computational Physics. He received the Faculty Scholar Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Physical Sciences from Penn State in 2019 and was recognized as a 2019 Highly Cited Researcher in the field of physics by the Clarivate Analytics Web of Science Group. Rigol was a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences in 2015 and received the Young Scientist Prize from the International union of Pure and Applied Physics in 2011. He has published more than 140 scientific papers in peer reviewed journals, including Nature, Science, Physical Review Letters, and Physical Review A, B, E, and X.
Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State in 2013, Rigol was an assistant then associate professor at Georgetown University from 2008 to 2012. He was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz from 2007 to 2008, the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, from 2006 to 2007, and at the University of California, Davis, from 2004 to 2006. He earned a doctoral degree in physics at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, in 2004, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in nuclear physics from the Institute of Nuclear Sciences and Technology, Havana, Cuba, in 2000 and 1999, respectively.