The late Jack Munushian was a long-time USC professor of electrical engineering and the right-hand man of Zohrab Kaprielian, a storied engineering dean and provost at USC.

Munushian was an innovative distance education pioneer who, utilizing television, began the program that eventually became the Viterbi School’s Distance Education Network. Many of his contributions are still evident in both the Viterbi School and the USC Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering today.

2019 Keynote Speaker

F. Duncan M. Haldane
Professor of Physics at Princeton University Nobel Laureate, Physics 2016

“Topological Quantum Matter, Entanglement, and the Second Quantum Revolution”

Date and Time: Monday, April 22, 2019, 2:00 – 3:30 pm, MCB 102
Reception in lobby at 3:30 pm


While the laws of quantum mechanics have remained unchanged and always validated for the last eighty-five years, new discoveries about the exotic states that they allow, entanglement, and ideas from quantum information theory have greatly changed our perspective, so much so that some talk of a “second quantum revolution” that is currently underway. The discovery of unexpected “topological states of matter”, and their possible use for “topologically-protected quantum information processing” is one of the important themes of these developments, and will be reviewed. Some of the early work in the 1980s that began to expose topological quantum matter has already earned Nobel Prizes, including the experimental discoveries of von Klitzing (Integer Quantum Hall Effect, Nobel 1985), and Stormer and Tsui (Fractional Quantum Hall Effect, Nobel 1998), the theoretical discovery of its description by Laughlin (co-laureate, 1998), and the work honored by the recent 2016 prize, which also occurred in the 1980’s. Given the surprising nature of subsequent recent developments and the excitement they have generated, it seems likely that more will follow, especially if the current attempts to demonstrate “braiding” become successful. It is no exaggeration to say that, at least in Condensed Matter Physics, the concepts and language used to describe quantum states of matter have dramatically changed since about 1980 as a result of all these developments, in which the quantum property of “entanglement” plays a key role.


Duncan Haldane, who shared the 2016  Nobel Prize for Physics with David Thouless and Michael Kosterlitz, is the  Sherman Fairchild University Professor of Physics at Princeton University,  a Fellow of the Royal Society of  London, and a Foreign Associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.   He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, and the Institute of Physics (UK).

He was awarded a share of the Nobel Prize for his theoretical work on “topological states of matter”, including pioneering work on unexpected  (and initially controversial) “topological quantum states” of one-dimensional systems of magnetic atoms (for which he had previously received the 1993 Oliver Buckley Prize of the American Physical Society), and on the 1988 theoretical prediction of (ferromagnetic) topological insulators exhibiting the “quantum anomalous Hall effect” (finally observed experimentally many years later in 2013) for which he shared the 2012 Dirac medal of the International Center for Theoretical Physics (Trieste) with Charles Kane and Shou-Cheng Zhang.   His work helped to open up new directions and ways of thinking about quantum effects in condensed matter, and in recent years, “topological quantum matter” has grown into a very active experimental field which many believe may provide platforms for “quantum computing”.    He also initiated the field of “topological photonics”.   He currently works on “quantum geometry” in the “fractional quantum Hall effect”.

Haldane received his Ph. D.  in theoretical condensed matter physics from Cambridge University, under the direction and mentorship of Philip W. Anderson (Nobel Laureate in Physics 1977), and, before his appointment at Princeton University, worked at the Institut Laue-Langevin (Grenoble, France), the University of Southern California, Bell Laboratories, and the University of California, San Diego.   Haldane was born in London in 1951, of mixed Scottish and Slovenian origins.  Despite also having three forenames, he is unrelated to the famous biologist J. B. S. Haldane.

Previous Speakers

AY 2017 – 2018
F. Duncan M. Haldane
Nobel Laureate, Physics 1997
“Quantum Information: a scientific and technological revolution for the 21st century”
AY 2015 – 2016
Dr. William Moerner
Stanford University
2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
“The Story of Photonics and Single Molecules, from Early Spectroscopy in Solids, to Super-Resolution.”
AY 2015 – 2016
Dr. Shuji Nakamura
UC Santa Barbara
Nobel Laureate, Physics 2014
“Development of Blue InGaN LEDs and Future lighting”
AY 2014 – 2015
Dr. David J. Wineland
Nobel Laureate, Physics 2012
“Quantum Computers and Raising Schrödinger’s Cat”
AY 2013 – 2014
Dr. Zhores Alferov
Nobel Laureate, Physics 2000
“Breakthrough Technologies of the 20th Century
and Their Importance Today”
AY 2012 – 2013
Dr. Andre Geim
Nobel Laureate, Physics (2010)
“Random Walk to Graphene”
AY 2011 – 2012
Dr. John L Hall
Nobel Laureate, Physics (2005)
“The Optical Frequency Comob –
a new tool with remarkable applications in Science, Metrology, and Medical Diagnostics”
AY 2010 – 2011
Dr. Robert B. Laughlin
Nobel Laureate, Physics (1998)
“The Crime of Reason: And the Closing of the Scientific Mind”
 AY 2009 – 2010
Dr. Charles Townes
Nobel Laureate in Physics (1964)
“How the Laser Happened: Interaction of Physics and Electrical Engineering”
AY 2008 – 2009
Dr. Herbert Kroemer
Nobel Laureate in Physics (2000)
“Heterostructures: From Physics to Devices and Back (A Personal Perspective)”
AY 2007 – 2008
Dr. Steven Chu (inaugural lecture)
“The World’s Energy Problem and
What We Can Do About It”