Thomas Timusk

Bio Outline


  • Fellow
  • Quantum Materials


  • McMaster University
Department of Physics & Astronomy


  • Canada


Thomas Timusk is a condensed matter physicist.

His current focus is on the force that acts between the charge carriers in quantum materials such as high temperature superconductors. In conventional superconductors, this force comes from phonons, sharp quantized vibrations of the lattice. In high temperature superconductors, experiments using several methods (including tunnelling, angle resolved photo emission and optical spectroscopy) show that the low temperature spectra of these superconductors are dominated by magnetic excitations. Recently, Timusk’s group have turned to systems where the sharp bosonic excitations are absent, called Fermi liquids. Careful optical experiments show that the conventional Fermi liquid theory fails to explain the data, and new ideas are needed. One idea that seems to work, at least in some systems, is a model of resonant elastic scattering proposed by Maslov and Chubukov. This breakdown of the widely accepted model is widespread and at this point no material has been found where the traditional Fermi liquid theory works.


American Physical Society Frank Isakson Prize, 2002

Brockhouse Medal, Canadian Association of Physicists, 2000

Medal of Achievement in Physics, Canadian Association of Physicists, 2000

Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, 1996

Sloan Foundation Fellowship, 1966–68

Relevant Publications

Hwang, J. et al. "Electron boson spectral density of LiFeAs obtained from optical data." J. Phys. Cond. Matter 87 (2015): 055701.

Nagel, U. et al. "Optical spectroscopy shows that the normal state of URu2Si2 is an anomalous Fermi liquid." PNAS 109 (2012): 19161–19165.

Timusk, T. "Flashes of light below the dripping faucet: an optical signal from capillary oscillations of water drops." Applied Optics 48 (2009): 1212–1217.

Hwang, J.S. et al. "High-transition-temperature superconductivity in the absence of the magnetic resonance mode." Nature 427 (2004): 714.