Stringy Predictions for Our Universe

  • Speaker
  • Cumrun Vafa, Ph.D.Hollis Professor of Mathematicks and Natural Philosophy; Professor of Physics, Harvard University
Date & Time

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Over the last few decades, string theory has emerged as a consistent, unified quantum theory of all the particles and forces. This development has led to a sharper understanding of the geometry of space and time as well as the basic physical laws that govern that geometry. String theory has also resulted in surprising predictions about our universe.

Solutions to string theory involve spaces with special mathematical properties. The study of these spaces has led to a ‘landscape’ of potentially consistent universes. The work has also led to the unexpected result that some consistent-looking universes cannot possibly exist and belong to the ’swampland.’ In this talk, Cumrun Vafa reviews some of the predictions to which this picture leads, both for the fundamental constituents of our universe as well as the ultimate fate of the cosmos.

About the Speaker

Vafa was born in Tehran, Iran, in 1960. In 1977, he came to the United States to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he received a B.S. degree in physics and mathematics. He pursued his graduate education at Princeton University and obtained his Ph.D. in physics in 1985 under the direction of Edward Witten. Vafa then became a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. He was appointed as a full professor in the department of physics at Harvard University in 1990, where he is currently the Hollis Professor of Mathematicks and Natural Philosophy and a professor of physics. Vafa’s main area of research is string theory at the interface of geometry and physics. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences and has received many awards, including ICTP’s Dirac Medal, the AMS’s Leonard Eisenbud Prize for Math and Physics, the APS’s Dannie Heineman Prize in Mathematical Physics, and the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.

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