Senior Associate, KICP
Professor, Department of Physics, Enrico Fermi Institute, and the College
Ph.D., Physics, Harvard University, 1996
Theoretical physics, quantum field theory, string theory, particle physics.
To answer basic questions about the nature of space and time and the origin of the universe, we require a quantum theory of gravity. The most promising candidate for such a theory is string theory which attempts to unify all the forces of nature in a single consistent framework. String has grown much richer over the past few years, and is no longer simply a theory of weakly interacting strings. Rather it contains membranes and other higher-dimensional objects which all appear to originate from a unique eleven-dimensional theory known as M-theory. Uncovering the structure of M-theory is very likely to radically change our understanding of space, time and gravity.
My research centers on understanding various aspects of M-theory, string theory and field theory. Specifically, my recent work has focused on constructing models of the Big Bang where the physics near the Big Bang is actually under control via the use of holography. In such models, gravity and space-time are emergent phenomena. In addition to this area, I have long standing interests in string compactifications like those that involve fluxes or novel vacua that involve triples of commuting connections, and in supersymmetric field theory.