Pulling Yourself Up by Your Bootstraps in Quantum Field Theory

  • Speaker
  • Leonardo Rastelli, Ph.D.Professor, Stony Brook University
Date & Time

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Simons Foundation Lectures are free public colloquia related to basic science and mathematics. These high-level talks are intended for professors, students, postdocs and business professionals, but interested people from the metropolitan area are welcome as well.
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Quantum field theory (QFT) is the universal language of theoretical physics, underlying the Standard Model of elementary particles, the physics of the early Universe and a host of condensed matter phenomena such as phase transitions and superconductivity. A great achievement of 20th-century physics was the understanding of weakly coupled quantum field theories where interactions can be treated as small perturbations of otherwise freely moving particles. Critical challenges for the 21st century include solving the problem of strong coupling and mapping the whole space of consistent QFTs.

In this lecture, Leonardo Rastelli will overview the bootstrap approach, the idea that theory space can be determined from the general principles of symmetry and quantum mechanics. This strategy provides a new unifying language for QFT and has allowed researchers to make predictions for physical observables even in strongly coupled theories. Rastelli will illustrate the general framework in a few examples, ranging from the concrete (boiling water) to the abstract (supersymmetric theories in various spacetime dimensions).

About the Speaker

Leonard Rastelli is a professor at the C.N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics (YITP) at Stony Brook University. He received his Ph.D. from MIT in 2000. He was a Dicke Fellow (2000-2002) and an assistant professor (2002-2006) at Princeton University before joining the YITP in 2006. Rastelli is the recipient of an Outstanding Junior Investigator award, a Simons Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship and has been a Blavatnik national finalist. Rastelli’s research interests have ranged from structural aspects of string theory to purely field-theoretic questions. Rastelli’s current main focus is the study of superconformal field theories in various dimensions by combining mathematical physics and numerical experimentation

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