I am interested in the qualitative understanding of the
macroscopic and collective properties of condensed matter
systems, and on the relation between this and the
microscopic physics at the single electron or single
molecule scale. I have been particularly interested in
exploring the spectacular consequences of strong
correlation effects in electronic materials and devices
where the low energy properties are qualitatively
different from those of a non interacting electron gas.
This field of study has been made particularly rich and
exciting by the seemingly nonending sequence of unexpected
experimental discoveries that have occurred in this field
over the past couple of decades - discoveries which
undermine accepted beliefs and raise conceptually deep
questions concerning the emergent behavior of systems with
many strongly interacting degrees of freedom.
Prime examples of this on which I have focused my
- The amazing electronic properties of the cuprate
perovskites including high temperature
superconductivity, quantum antiferromagnetism, and the
delicate interplay between superconducting,
charge-density-wave, and spin-density wave ordering;
- The two dimensional electron-gas in a strong magnetic
field, which exhibits phenomena associated with the
quantum Hall effect, fractional charge, and fractional
Presently, I am actively pursuing the implications of a
theoretical proposal my collaborators and I have recently
made concerning the existence and character of a variety
of zero temperature phases of correlated electronic
systems. These phases occur as groundstates of interacting
electrons in regimes intermediate between the weakly
correlated Fermi gas phase observed in conventional
metals, and the insulating "Wigner Crystalline" phases
which occur when the interactions are large compared to
the Fermi energy. We have named these phases "electronic
liquid crystalline" in analogy with the intermediate
phases observed in the thermal phase diagram of molecular
liquids. Some of them have apparently already been
observed, recently, in high temperature superconducting
materials and in quantum Hall devices. In addition, I am
involved with developing a new approach to understanding
the old, but certainly unsolved problem of the glass
transition in supercooled liquids. It is my feeling that
to obtain a qualitative understanding of these physically
important problems, it is vital to obtain exact, and well
controlled approximate solutions of simplified model
problems which properly caricature the important physics,
and this has dictated the use of field-theoretic methods
which are based on the renormalization group viewpoint of
- Ph.D., Harvard, 1979
- Professor, Physics and Astronomy, UCLA
- Professor, Physics, Stanford, 2004-present
- The Prabhu Goel Family Professorship, 2012-present
Selected Recent Publications:
- S.A.Kivelson, E. Fradkin, and V. Emery, "Electronic
Liquid Crystal Phases of a Doped Mott Insulator", Nature
393, 550 (1998).
- E.Fradkin and S.A.Kivelson,``Liquid Crystal Phases of
Quantum Hall Systems," Phys. Rev. B59, 8065 (1999).
- V.J.Emery, E.Fradkin, S.A. Kivelson, and T.C.Lubensky,
``Quantum theory of the smectic metal state in stripe
phases," Phys.Rev.Lett. 85, 2160 (2000).
- Z. Nussinov, J.~Rudnick, S.~A.~Kivelson, and
L.~N.~Chayes, ``Avoided Critical Behavior in O(n)
Systems", Phys. Rev. Lett. 83, 472 (1999).
- E.W.Carlson, S.A.Kivelson, V.J.Emery, and
E.~Manousakis, ``Classical Phase Fluctuations in High
Temperature Superconductors", Phys. Rev. Lett. 83, 612
- E.W.Carlson, D.Orgad, S.A.Kivelson, and V.J.Emery,
"Dimensional crossover quasi-one-dimensional and high-Tc
superconductors," Phys. Rev. B 62, 3422 (2000).
- D. Orgad, S. A. Kivelson, E. W. Carlson, V. J. Emery,
X. J. Zhou, and Z. X. Shen, ``Evidence of Electron
Fractionalization from Photoemission Spectra in the High
Temperature Superconductors", Phys. Rev. Lett 86m 4362
- S.Chakravarty and S.A.Kivelson, "Electronic Mechanism
of Superconductivity in the Cuprates, C_60, and
Polyacenes", Phys. Rev. B64, 064511 (2001)
Selected older papers of general interest:
- V.J.Emery, S.A.Kivelson and J.M.Tranquada, ``Stripe
Phases in High Temperature Superconductors", Proc. Natl.
Acad. Sci., 96, 8814 (1999).
- S. A. Kivelson, D-H. Lee, and S-C. Zhang, "Electrons
in Flatland", Scientific American, March, 1996, pg. 86 -
91. V. J. Emery and S. A. Kivelson, "Importance of Phase
Fluctuations in Superconductors with Small Superfluid
Density," Nature, 374, 434-437 (1995).
- D. Kivelson, S. A. Kivelson, X. Zhao, Z. Nussinov, and
G. Tarjus, "A Thermodynamic Theory of Supercooled
Liquids as they Get Glassy," Physica A 219, 27-38
- S. Sondhi, A. Karlhede, S. A. Kivelson, and E. H.
Rezayi, "Skyrmions and the crossover from the integer to
fractional quantum Hall effect at small Zeeman
energies," Phys. Rev. B47, 16419 (1993).
- S. Chakravarty, M. P. Gelfand, and S. Kivelson,
"Electronic Correlation Effects and Superconductivity of
Doped Fullerenes," Science 254, 970 (1991).