School of Humanities and Sciences
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Professor of Physics and Director, Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy current research is focused in three directions:
— Mathematical aspects of string theory (with a focus on BPS state counts, black holes, and moonshine)
— Quantum field theory approaches to condensed matter physics (with a focus on physics of non-Fermi liquids)
— Theoretical biology, with a focus on evolution and ecology
Senior Lecturer of Sociology
Current Research and Scholarly Interests19th and 20th Century Urban and Social History; Street Life; Urban Space
Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and Professor, by courtesy, of Political ScienceOn Leave from 04/28/2021 To 04/28/2023
BioColin H. Kahl is co-director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation, the inaugural Steven C. Házy Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and a Professor, by courtesy, in the Department of Political Science at Stanford University. He is also a Strategic Consultant to the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.
From October 2014 to January 2017, he was Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President. In that position, he served as a senior advisor to President Obama and Vice President Biden on all matters related to U.S. foreign policy and national security affairs, and represented the Office of the Vice President as a standing member of the National Security Council Deputies’ Committee. From February 2009 to December 2011, Dr. Kahl was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East at the Pentagon. In this capacity, he served as the senior policy advisor to the Secretary of Defense for Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen, and six other countries in the Levant and Persian Gulf region. In June 2011, he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service by Secretary Robert Gates.
From 2007 to 2017 (when not serving in the U.S. government), Dr. Kahl was an assistant and associate professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. From 2007 to 2009 and 2012 to 2014, he was also a Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a nonpartisan Washington, DC-based think tank. From 2000 to 2007, he was an assistant professor of political science at the University of Minnesota. In 2005-2006, Dr. Kahl took leave from the University of Minnesota to serve as a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he worked on issues related to counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, and responses to failed states. In 1997-1998, he was a National Security Fellow at the John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University.
Current research includes an assessment of American grand strategy in the Middle East in the post-9/11 era. A second research project focuses on the implications of emerging technologies on nuclear strategic stability.
He has published numerous articles on international security and U.S. foreign and defense policy in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, International Security, the Los Angeles Times, Middle East Policy, the National Interest, the New Republic, the New York Times, Politico, the Washington Post, and the Washington Quarterly, as well as several reports for CNAS.
His previous research analyzed the causes and consequences of violent civil and ethnic conflict in developing countries, focusing particular attention on the demographic and natural resource dimensions of these conflicts. His book on the subject, States, Scarcity, and Civil Strife in the Developing World, was published by Princeton University Press in 2006, and related articles and chapters have appeared in International Security, the Journal of International Affairs, and various edited volumes.
Dr. Kahl received his B.A. in political science from the University of Michigan (1993) and his Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University (2000).
Stanford W. Ascherman, MD Professor and Professor, by courtesy, of Mathematics
BioWhat is the mathematical structure of supergravity/string theory and its relation to cosmology?
Professor Kallosh works on the general structure of supergravity and string theory and their applications to cosmology. Her main interests are related to the models early universe inflation and dark energy in string theory. She develops string theory models explaining the origin of the universe and its current acceleration. With her collaborators, she has recently constructed de Sitter supergravity, which is most suitable for studies of inflation and dark energy and spontaneously broken supersymmetry.
She is analyzing possible consequences of the expected new data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and the results of current and future cosmological observations, including Planck satellite CMB data. These results may affect the relationship between superstring theory and supergravity, and the real world. Professor Kallosh works, in particular, on future tests of string theory by CMB data and effective supergravity models with flexible amplitude of gravitational waves produced during inflation.
Associate Professor of Chemistry and Senior Fellow at the Precourt Institute for Energy
BioAssociate Professor of Chemistry Matthew Kanan develops new catalysts and chemical reactions for applications in renewable energy conversion and CO2 utilization. His group at Stanford University has recently developed a novel method to create plastic from carbon dioxide and inedible plant material rather than petroleum products, and pioneered the study of “defect-rich” heterogeneous electro-catalysts for converting carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide to liquid fuel.
Matthew Kanan completed undergraduate study in chemistry at Rice University (B.A. 2000 Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa). During doctoral research in organic chemistry at Harvard University (Ph.D. 2005), he developed a novel method for using DNA to discover new chemical reactions. He then moved into inorganic chemistry for his postdoctoral studies as a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he discovered a water oxidation catalyst that operates in neutral water. He joined the Stanford Chemistry Department faculty in 2009 to continue research into energy-related catalysis and reactions. His research and teaching have already been recognized in selection as one of Chemistry & Engineering News’ first annual Talented 12, the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, Eli Lilly New Faculty Award, and recognition as a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Environmental Mentor, among other honors.
The Kanan Lab addresses fundamental challenges in catalysis and synthesis with an emphasis on enabling new technologies for scalable CO2 utilization. The interdisciplinary effort spans organic synthesis, materials chemistry and electrochemistry.
One of the greatest challenges of the 21st century is to transition to an energy economy with ultra-low greenhouse gas emissions without compromising quality of life for a growing population. The Kanan Lab aims to help enable this transition by developing catalysts and chemical reactions that recycle CO2 into fuels and commodity chemicals using renewable energy sources. To be implemented on a substantial scale, these methods must ultimately be competitive with fossil fuels and petrochemicals. With this requirement in mind, the group focuses on the fundamental chemical challenge of making carbon–carbon (C–C) bonds because multi-carbon compounds have higher energy density, greater value, and more diverse applications that one-carbon compounds. Both electrochemical and chemical methods are being pursued. For electrochemical conversion, the group studies how defects known as grain boundaries can be exploited to improve CO2/CO electro-reduction catalysis. Recent work has unveiled quantitative correlations between grain boundaries and catalytic activity, establishing a new design principle for electrocatalysis, and developed grain boundary-rich copper catalysts with unparalleled activity for converting carbon monoxide to liquid fuel. For chemical CO2 conversion, the group is developing C–H carboxylation and CO2 hydrogenation reactions that are promoted by simple carbonate salts. These reactions provide a way to make C–C bonds between un-activated substrates and CO2 without resorting to energy-intensive and hazardous reagents. Among numerous applications, carbonate-promoted carboxylation enables the synthesis of a monomer used to make polyester plastic from CO2 and a feedstock derived from agricultural waste.
In addition to CO2 chemistry, the Kanan group is pursuing new strategies to control selectivity in molecular catalysis for fine chemical synthesis. Of particular interest in the use of electrostatic interactions to discriminate between competing reaction pathways based on their charge distributions. This effort uses ion pairing or interfaces to control the local electrostatic environment in which a reaction takes place. The group has recently shown that local electric fields can control regioselectivity in isomerization reactions catalyzed by gold complexes.
Assistant Professor of English and, by courtesy, of Comparative Literature
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsGlobal Anglophone literature and its relationship to other literary traditions of the Global South. The conditions for interdisciplinary research in the humanities, especially literature's relationship with medicine and the social sciences.
Theodore and Sydney Rosenberg Professor of Applied Physics and Professor of PhysicsOn Leave from 10/01/2021 To 12/31/2021
BioAharon Kapitulnik is the Theodore and Sydney Rosenberg Professor in Applied Physics at the Departments of Applied Physics and Physics at Stanford University. His research focuses on experimental condensed matter physics, while opportunistically, also apply his methods to tabletop experimental studies of fundamental phenomena in physics. His recent studies cover a broad spectrum of phenomena associated with the behavior of correlated and disordered electron systems, particularly in reduced dimensions, and the development of effective instrumentation to detect subtle signatures of physical phenomena.
Among other recognitions, his activities earned him the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship (1986-90), a Presidential Young Investigator Award (1987-92), a Sackler Scholar at Tel-Aviv University (2006), the Heike Kamerlingh Onnes Prize for Superconductivity Experiment (2009), a RTRA (Le Triangle de la Physique) Senior Chair (2010), and the Oliver Buckley Condensed Matter Prize of the American Physical Society (2015). Aharon Kapitulnik is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Kapitulnik holds a Ph.D. in Physics from Tel-Aviv University (1983).