Juan Maldacena is currently a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He has worked on string theory and discovered a connection between quantum gravity and ordinary quantum mechanical systems, the so-called gauge/gravity duality. He has worked on many areas of theoretical physics, including quantum aspects of black holes, gauge theories and cosmological perturbation theory. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received the Dannie Heineman Prize in Mathematical Physics of the APS, the Dirac medal of the ICTP and the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.
Maldacena has been interested in the connections between space-time and entanglement. He wants to understand in what sense entanglement “builds” space-time. Entanglement seems to be a crucial element, but there are probably other key ideas that are necessary to have a local space-time. One such element is a maximal amount of chaos in the basic dynamics of the fundamental degrees of freedom. Such chaos arises naturally in strongly interacting systems. He is currently studying some simple condensed-matter-inspired models that are strongly chaotic.