Ben Simons is Professor of Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge. Since gaining his Ph.D. at the same department in 1990, he has held postdoctoral positions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and NEC Research Inc. in Princeton. Having briefly held a Royal Society Research Fellowship at Imperial College in London, he transferred to the faculty in Cambridge in 1995 where he holds a Fellowship at St John’s College. His main areas of research include strongly correlated condensed matter systems, mesoscopic and ultracold atom physics, and exploiting methods of statistical mechanics and collective phenomena to study biological systems.
Cold atoms in optical cavities can undergo a transition to a liquid-crystalline state in which the positions of the atoms are determined by the photon field.