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The Quantum Many-Body Problem

Doctoral student Kaitlyn Morrell tackles one of physics' most complex problems: understanding how systems of quantum particles interact.

Doctoral student Kaitlyn Morrell poses in front of a blackboard that shows physics equations.

Doctoral student Kaitlyn Morrell tackles one of physics' most complex problems: understanding how systems of quantum particles interact.

When stars collide, energy radiates outward and gravitational waves ripple through space. Understanding what happened on a subatomic level during events like these offers valuable insight into our universe, such as the origins of heavy elements. Kaitlyn Morrell, a doctoral student at the UNC Department of Physics and Astronomy and a Chatterjee Family Summer Research Fellow, is developing software to model how trillions of quantum particles interact during complex events.

From sciences to the humanities, doctoral students at Carolina engage in groundbreaking research that generates knowledge and advances understanding of our world. Gifts to The Graduate School have supported Summer Research Fellowships that help doctoral students like Morrell spend a summer focused exclusively on their dissertation research.

“I develop methods for teaching computers to analyze what’s called the quantum many-body problem, which is the goal of understanding systems of numerous quantum particles. Those systems occur throughout nature anywhere from everyday materials to inside stars in outer space.”

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