Rutgers University Department of Physics and Astronomy

2016-17 Handbook for Physics and Astronomy Graduate Students

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Research Programs

Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics

Theoretical particle physics has advanced its frontiers enormously in recent years. The success of the Weinberg-Salam model of electroweak interactions, culminating in the discovery of the W and Zo, has led to efforts to find a unified theory including quantum chromodynamics and perhaps general relativity as well. A theory of all interactions and particles usually has far-reaching implications, for instance predicting proton decay, and affecting the development of the universe in the first few moments after the big bang. Thus particle physics now relates to problems in cosmology, such as galaxy formation and the observed predominance of matter over antimatter. The most ambitious of these unified theories - superstrings - is being intensively studied at Rutgers, which has one of the strongest particle theory groups in the world. Other problems, such as developing methods to study non-abelian gauge theories in nonperturbative regimes, electroweak baryogenesis, and computational methods, are also being studied. Advances in the understanding of field theory have yielded techniques and predicted phenomena which are relevant to mathematics, statistical mechanics, and condensed matter physics.

Professor Tom Banks

Since 2000 I have been working on ways to generalize string theory to space-times which are dominated in the asymptotic future by a positive cosmological constant. This research combines early universe cosmology and an elucidation of the Big Bang, with conjectures about the relationship between the breaking of supersymmetry and the value of the cosmological constant. The latter work leads to rather specific models for the physics that will be probed at the Large Hadron Collider. Much of my work since 2006 has been devoted to these phenomenological models. I am also interested in a variety of topics in quantum field theory and string theory, most recently in the so called Regge limit in field theory, which is a limit in which two parts of the system are given a large relative Lorentz boost.

Professor Diuliu-Emanuel Diaconescu

Professor Daniel Friedan

I am interested in string theory as a fundamental description of elementary particles and forces and in quantum field theories and string theories as effective descriptions of elementary particles and critical phenomena. Recently, I have been trying to formulate non-perturbative string theory so as to make possible low-energy predictions and comparison with experiment.

Professor Sergei Lukyanov

My research activities are in the areas of quantum field theory, mathematical physics and statistical mechanics. Currently I am mostly interested in exactly soluble low dimensional models.

Professor Gregory Moore

I work on mathematical physics related to quantum field theory and string theory. Specific topics include:

  • Rational conformal field theory, together with applications to the quantum Hall effect,
  • Matrix models of string theories, especially in low dimensions.
  • Quantization of Chern-Simons theories and self-dual fields.
  • The mathematics of D-branes, including relations to (differential) K-theory and the application of topology to supergravity.
  • The use of modular forms and automorphic functions in deriving low energy supergravity actions and in accounting for black hole entropy in terms of statistical counting of microstates.
  • Mathematical applications of physical ideas, such as: Applications of Seiberg-Witten theory to the theory of 4-manifolds; applications of string theory to number theory.

Professor Joel Shapiro

Prof. Shapiro's work in particle theory has been centered primarily on string theory. He was one of the early contributors to dual resonance models, identified the scattering amplitudes of the closed strings, and was one of the first to identify the role of modular invariance. His later work focused on the understanding of closed strings as they appear in an open string theory, on the Green-Schwarz string in curved superspace backgrounds, and the connection of the necessary constraints on such backgrounds with supergravity.

Professor David Shih

Professor Scott Thomas

My area of research is in theoretical physics. At present my main focus is in two areas. The first is the physics of electroweak symmetry breaking which should be well probed at the Large Hadron Collider. The second is the holographic properties of theories of quantum gravity. I am also investigating the possibility of extracting testable cosmological and laboratory predictions from fundamental theories which possess a Landscape of solutions such as string theory.

Professor Alexander Zamolodchikov

I am working on quantum field theory in relation to both high-energy physics and statistical physics. More specifically, I am looking for exact solutions to model quantum field theories, and trying to elaborate mathematical structures of such solutions as well as applications to physics of criticality, strings and gravity. Presently I am interested in various aspects of the fascinating interplay between integrable field theories, conformal field theories, and string theory.

Lattice Field Theory

Professor Herbert Neuberger

My area of specialization is Field Theory and I am mostly interested in its non-perturbative aspects.

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Revised April, 2017