Broadly speaking, my current work focuses on the idea that spacetime might better be understood as an emergent quantity. The hope is this may help shed light on the many challenges we have faced when trying to understand the nature of spacetime on very small scales. More specifically, and motivated by the holographic principle, I hope to better address the question of how a set of fundamental degrees of freedom might rearrange themselves into the building blocks of spacetime. Inspired by the work of many Stanford colleagues, a large set of tools and concepts once the domain of quantum information theory, such as entanglement entropy, has provided unexpected insights into the possible solutions.

Honors & Awards

  • NSF Graduate Research Fellow, National Science Foundation (2013)
  • Alan Barett Prize (for Thesis), MIT (2013)

Education & Certifications

  • MA.St. (Part III), University of Cambridge, Theoretical Physics (2014)
  • S.B., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Physics (2013)

All Publications

  • Target Space Entanglement Entropy Mazenc, E. A., Ranard, D. arXiv. 2019


    We define a notion of target space entanglement entropy. Rather than partitioning the base space on which the theory is defined, we consider partitions of the target space. This is the physical case of interest for first-quantized theories, such as worldsheet string theory. We associate to each subregion of the target space a suitably chosen sub-algebra of observables $\mathcal{A}$. The entanglement entropy is calculated as the entropy of the density matrix restricted to $\mathcal{A}$. As an example, we illustrate our framework by computing spatial entanglement in first-quantized many-body quantum mechanics. The algebra $\mathcal{A}$ is chosen to reproduce the entanglement entropy obtained by embedding the state in the fixed particle sub-sector of the second-quantized Hilbert space. We then generalize our construction to the quantum field-theoretical setting.

  • A Path Integral Realization of joint JT¯, TJ¯ and TT¯ Flows Aguilera-Damia,, ., Giraldo-Rivera, V. I., Mazenc, E. A., Salazar-Landea, I., Soni, R. M. arXiv. 2019


    We recast the joint JT¯, TJ¯ and TT¯ deformations as coupling the original theory to a mixture of topological gravity and gauge theory. This geometrizes the general flow triggered by irrelevant deformations built out of conserved currents and the stress-energy tensor, by means of a path integral kernel. The partition function of the deformed theory satisfies a diffusion-like flow equation similar to that found in the pure TT¯ case. Our proposal passes two stringent tests. Firstly, we recover the classical deformed actions from the kernel, reproducing the known expressions for the free boson and fermion. Secondly, we explicitly compute the torus path integral along the flow and show it localizes to a finite-dimensional, one-loop exact integral over base space torus moduli. The dressed energy levels so obtained match exactly onto those previously reported in the literature.

  • Matrix quantum mechanics from qubits JOURNAL OF HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS Hartnoll, S. A., Huijse, L., Mazenc, E. A. 2017
  • Entanglement Entropy in Two-Dimensional String Theory PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS Hartnoll, S. A., Mazenc, E. A. 2015; 115 (12)


    To understand an emergent spacetime is to understand the emergence of locality. Entanglement entropy is a powerful diagnostic of locality, because locality leads to a large amount of short distance entanglement. Two-dimensional string theory is among the very simplest instances of an emergent spatial dimension. We compute the entanglement entropy in the large-N matrix quantum mechanics dual to two-dimensional string theory in the semiclassical limit of weak string coupling. We isolate a logarithmically large, but finite, contribution that corresponds to the short distance entanglement of the tachyon field in the emergent spacetime. From the spacetime point of view, the entanglement is regulated by a nonperturbative "graininess" of space.

    View details for DOI 10.1103/PhysRevLett.115.121602

    View details for Web of Science ID 000361316500003

    View details for PubMedID 26430982

  • Primordial bispectrum from multifield inflation with nonminimal couplings PHYSICAL REVIEW D Kaiser, D. I., Mazenc, E. A., Sfakianakis, E. I. 2013; 87 (6)