School of Humanities and Sciences
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Associate Professor of Physics
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsIn between the few-particle realm where we have mastered quantum mechanics and the macroscopic domain describable by classical physics, there lies a broad swath of territory where quantum effects are relevant but still largely out of our control and partly beyond our comprehension. This territory includes metrological instruments whose precision is limited by the quantum projection noise of millions of atoms; and materials whose bulk properties emerge from many-body interactions intractable to simulation on classical computers. Professor Schleier-Smith’s research aims to advance our control and understanding of many-particle quantum systems by engineering new quantum states and Hamiltonians with ensembles of laser-cooled atoms.
Associate Professor of Physics and of Particle Physics and Astrophysics
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsProfessor Senatore is a theoretical physicist working to try to understand how the universe began and evolved to its present form. While this is a very interesting and fundamental question per se, from the understanding of how the universe evolved in the first few moments we can infer more about the laws of physics at the smallest distances and highest energies. Cosmological observations are providing us with a huge amount of data, which allows us to test our theories about inflation, eternal inflation and its alternatives, and about the growth of structures in our universe, to an unprecedented level. Senatore tries to bridge the gap between the speculative ideas about the early universe and their possible confirmation in the data.
Current areas of focus:
- Effective field theory of inflation
- Primordial non-Gaussianities
- Effective field theory of cosmological large scale structures
- Eternal inflation and quantum effects in inflation
- Analysis of cosmological data
Paul Pigott Professor in Physical Sciences, Professor of Photon Science, of Physics and Senior Fellow at the Precourt Institute for Energy
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsDr. Shen's main research interest lies in the area of condensed matter and materials physics, as well as the applications of materials and devices. He develops photon based innovative instrumentation and advanced experimental techniques, ranging from angle-resolved photoemission to microwave imaging, soft x-ray scattering and time domain spectroscopy and scattering. He has created a body of literature that advanced our understanding of quantum materials, including superconductors, semiconductors, novel magnets, topological insulators, novel carbon and electron emitters. He is best known for his discoveries of the momentum structure of anisotropic d-wave pairing gap and anomalous normal state pseudogap in high temperature superconductors. He has further leveraged the advanced characterization tool to make better materials through thin film and interface engineering.
Richard Herschel Weiland Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsProfessor Shenker’s research focuses on quantum gravity, in particular string theory and M theory, with an emphasis on nonperturbative aspects.
Professor of Physics
BioWhat are the basic degrees of freedom and interactions underlying gravitational and particle physics? What is the mechanism behind the initial seeds of structure in the universe, and how can we test it using cosmological observations? Is there a holographic framework for cosmology that applies throughout the history of the universe, accounting for the effects of horizons and singularities? What new phenomena arise in quantum field theory in generic conditions such as finite density, temperature, or in time dependent backgrounds?
Professor Silverstein attacks basic problems in several areas of theoretical physics. She develops concrete and testable mechanisms for cosmic inflation, accounting for its sensitivity to very high energy physics. This has led to a fruitful interface with cosmic microwave background research, contributing to a more systematic analysis of its observable phenomenology.
Professor Silverstein also develops mechanisms for breaking supersymmetry and for stabilizing the extra dimensions of string theory to model the immense hierarchies between the cosmological horizon, electroweak, and Planck scales in nature. In addition, Professor Silverstein uses the ultraviolet completion of gravity afforded by string theory to address questions of quantum gravity, such as singularity resolution and the physics of black hole and cosmological horizons. Professor Silverstein also uses modern techniques in quantum field theory to model strongly coupled phenomena motivated by measurements in condensed matter physics.
Areas of focus:
- UV complete mechanisms and systematics of cosmic inflation, including string-theoretic versions of large-field inflation (with gravity wave CMB signatures) and novel mechanisms involving inflaton interactions (with non-Gaussian signatures in the CMB)
-Systematic theory and analysis of primordial Non-Gaussianity, taking into account strongly non-linear effects in quantum field theory encoded in multi-point correlation functions
-Long-range interactions in string theory and implications for black hole physics
- Concrete holographic models of de Sitter expansion in string theory, aimed at upgrading the AdS/CFT correspondence to cosmology
- Mechanisms for non-Fermi liquid transport and $2k_F$ singularities from strongly coupled finite density quantum field theory
- Mechanisms by which the extra degrees of freedom in string theory induce transitions and duality symmetries between spaces of different topology and dimensionality