Bio


What 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

Academic Appointments


Administrative Appointments


  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Rutgers University (1996 - 1997)
  • Permanent Member and Visiting Professor of Physics, Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara (2009 - 2010)
  • Assistant Professor, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Stanford University (1997 - 2001)
  • Associate Professor, Stanford University, SLAC and Physics Department (2001 - 2006)
  • Professor, Stanford University, SLAC and Physics Department (2006 - 2017)
  • Professor, Stanford University Department of Physics (2006 - Present)

Honors & Awards


  • Fellowship, Alfred P Sloan Foundation (1999)
  • Outstanding Junior Investigator Award, Department of Energy (1999)
  • Fellowship, MacArthur Foundation (1999-2004)
  • Bergmann Memorial Award, Israel-U.S. Binational Science Foundation (2000)
  • Fellow, American Physical Society (2016)
  • Investigator, Simons Foundation (2017)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations


  • Advisory Board, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Gravity and Cosmology
  • PI, Simons Foundation Origins of the Universe program, Modern Inflationary Cosmology (2017 - Present)
  • General Member, Aspen Center for Physics (2015 - Present)
  • Coordinator, KITP Primordial Cosmology program and conference (2013 - 2013)
  • Co-director, ICTP Spring School (2011 - 2013)
  • Advisory Council, Princeton University Department of Physics (2009)
  • Member, Inflationary Theory Working Group: CMBPOL (2008 - 2008)
  • Advisory Board, Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (2004 - 2007)
  • General Member, Aspen Center for Physics (1999 - 2006)
  • Member, Institute for Advance Study, Princeton (1999 - 1999)

Professional Education


  • B.A., Harvard University, Physics (1992)
  • PhD., Princeton University, Physics (1996)

Stanford Advisees


All Publications


  • Inflation in string theory confronts data COMPTES RENDUS PHYSIQUE Silverstein, E. 2015; 16 (10): 1003-1011
  • Neutrino physics from the cosmic microwave background and large scale structure ASTROPARTICLE PHYSICS Abazajian, K. N., Arnold, K., Austermann, J., Benson, B. A., Bischoff, C., Bock, J., Bond, J. R., Borrill, J., Calabrese, E., Carlstrom, J. E., Carvalho, C. S., Chang, C. L., Chiang, H. C., Church, S., Cooray, A., 'Crawford, T. M., Dawson, K. S., Das, S., Devlin, M. J., Dobbs, M., Dodelson, S., Dore, O., Dunkley, J., Errard, J., Fraisse, A., Gallicchio, J., Halverson, N. W., Hanany, S., Hildebrandt, S. R., Hincks, A., Hlozek, R., Holder, G., Holzapfel, W. L., Honscheid, K., Hu, W., Hubmayr, J., Irwin, K., Jones, W. C., Kamionkowski, M., Keating, B., Keisler, R., Knox, L., Komatsu, E., Kovac, J., Kuo, C., Lawrence, C., Lee, A. T., Leitch, E., Linder, E., Lubin, P., McMahon, J., Miller, A., Newburgh, L., Niemack, M. D., Nguyen, H., Nguyen, H. T., Page, L., Pryke, C., Reichardt, C. L., Ruhl, J. E., Sehgal, N., Seljak, U., Sievers, J., Silverstein, E., Slosar, A., Smith, K. M., Spergel, D., Staggs, S. T., Stark, A., Stompor, R., Vieregg, A. G., Wang, G., Watson, S., Wollack, E. J., Wu, W. L., Yoon, K. W., Zahn, O. 2015; 63: 66-80
  • Inflation physics from the cosmic microwave background and large scale structure ASTROPARTICLE PHYSICS Abazajian, K. N., Arnold, K., Austermann, J., Benson, B. A., Bischoff, C., Bock, J., Bond, J. R., Borrill, J., Buder, I., Burke, D. L., Calabrese, E., Carlstrom, J. E., Carvalho, C. S., Chang, C., Chiang, H. C., Church, S., Cooray, A., Crawford, T. M., Crill, B. P., Dawson, K. S., Das, S., Devlin, M. J., Dobbs, M., Dodelson, S., Dore, O., Dunkley, J., Feng, J. L., Fraisse, A., Gallicchio, J., Giddings, S. B., Green, D., Halverson, N. W., Hanany, S., Hanson, D., Hildebrandt, S. R., HINCKS, A., Hlozek, R., Holder, G., Holzapfel, W. L., Honscheid, K., Horowitz, G., Hu, W., Hubmayr, J., Irwin, K., Jackson, M., Jones, W. C., Kallosh, R., Kamionkowski, M., Keating, B., Keisler, R., Kinney, W., Knox, L., Komatsu, E., Kovac, J., Kuo, C., Kusaka, A., Lawrence, C., Lee, A. T., Leitch, E., Linde, A., Linder, E., Lubin, P., Maldacena, J., Martinec, E., McMahon, J., Miller, A., Mukhanov, V., Newburgh, L., Niemack, M. D., Nguyen, H., Nguyen, H. T., Page, L., Pryke, C., Reichardt, C. L., Ruhl, J. E., Sehgal, N., Seljak, U., Senatore, L., Sievers, J., Silverstein, E., Slosar, A., Smith, K. M., Spergel, D., Staggs, S. T., Stark, A., Stompor, R., Vieregg, A. G., Wang, G., Watson, S., Wollack, E. J., Wu, W. L., Yoon, K. W., Zahn, O., Zaldarriaga, M. 2015; 63: 55-65
  • Gravitational waves and the scale of inflation PHYSICAL REVIEW D Mirbabayi, M., Senatore, L., Silverstein, E., Zaldarriaga, M. 2015; 91 (6)
  • New solutions with accelerated expansion in string theory JOURNAL OF HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS Dodelson, M., Dong, X., Silverstein, E., Torroba, G. 2014
  • The powers of monodromy JOURNAL OF HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS McAllister, L., Silverstein, E., Westphal, A., Wrase, T. 2014
  • New sources of gravitational waves during inflation JOURNAL OF COSMOLOGY AND ASTROPARTICLE PHYSICS Senatore, L., Silverstein, E., Zaldarriaga, M. 2014
  • Anomalous dimensions and non-gaussianity JOURNAL OF HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS Green, D., Lewandowski, M., Senatore, L., Silverstein, E., Zaldarriaga, M. 2013
  • Moduli stabilization and the holographic RG for AdS and dS JOURNAL OF HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS Dong, X., Horn, B., Silverstein, E., Torroba, G. 2013
  • Dual purpose landscaping tools: Small extra dimensions in AdS/CFT Memorial Conference for Maximilian Kreuzer Polchinski, J., Silverstein, E. WORLD SCIENTIFIC PUBL CO PTE LTD. 2013: 365–390
  • Benefits of stress: Resolution of the Lifshitz singularity PHYSICAL REVIEW D Bao, N., Dong, X., Harrison, S., Silverstein, E. 2012; 86 (10)
  • Perturbative critical behavior from spacetime dependent couplings PHYSICAL REVIEW D Dong, X., Horn, B., Silverstein, E., Torroba, G. 2012; 86 (10)
  • Large-density field theory, viscosity and '2k(F)' singularities from string duals CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM GRAVITY Polchinski, J., Silverstein, E. 2012; 29 (19)
  • Unitarity bounds and renormalization-group flows in time dependent quantum field theory PHYSICAL REVIEW D Dong, X., Horn, B., Silverstein, E., Torroba, G. 2012; 86 (2)
  • FRW solutions and holography from uplifted AdS/CFT systems PHYSICAL REVIEW D Dong, X., Horn, B., Matsuura, S., Silverstein, E., Torroba, G. 2012; 85 (10)
  • Towards a holographic marginal Fermi liquid PHYSICAL REVIEW D Jensen, K., Kachru, S., Karch, A., Polchinski, J., Silverstein, E. 2011; 84 (12)
  • Stimulated superconductivity at strong coupling JOURNAL OF HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS Bao, N., Dong, X., Silverstein, E., Torroba, G. 2011
  • Simple exercises to flatten your potential PHYSICAL REVIEW D Dong, X., Horn, B., Silverstein, E., Westphal, A. 2011; 84 (2)
  • The Shape of Inner Space (Review) Nature Physics Silverstein, E. 2011
  • Micromanaging de Sitter holography CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM GRAVITY Dong, X., Horn, B., Silverstein, E., Torroba, G. 2010; 27 (24)
  • Gravity waves and linear inflation from axion monodromy PHYSICAL REVIEW D McAllister, L., Silverstein, E., Westphal, A. 2010; 82 (4)
  • Towards strange metallic holography JOURNAL OF HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS Hartnoll, S. A., Polchinski, J., Silverstein, E., Tong, D. 2010
  • Trapped inflation PHYSICAL REVIEW D Green, D., Horn, B., Senatore, L., Silverstein, E. 2009; 80 (6)
  • Insightful D-branes JOURNAL OF HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS Horowitz, G., Lawrence, A., Silverstein, E. 2009
  • Probing Inflation with CMB Polarization CMB Polarization Workshop Baumann, D., Jackson, M. G., Adshead, P., Amblard, A., Ashoorioon, A., Bartolo, N., Bean, R., Beltran, M., De Bernardis, F., Bird, S., Chen, X., Chung, D. J., Colombo, L., Cooray, A., Creminelli, P., Dodelson, S., Dunkley, J., Dvorkin, C., Easther, R., Finelli, F., Flauger, R., Hertzberg, M. P., Jones-Smith, K., Kachru, S., Kadota, K., Khoury, J., Kinney, W. H., Komatsu, E., Krauss, L. M., Lesgourgues, J., Liddle, A., Liguori, M., Lim, E., Linde, A., Matarrese, S., Mathur, H., McAllister, L., Melchiorri, A., Nicolis, A., Pagano, L., Peiris, H. V., Peloso, M., Pogosian, L., Pierpaoli, E., Riotto, A., Seljak, U., Senatore, L., Shandera, S., Silverstein, E., Smith, T., Vaudrevange, P., Verde, L., Wandelt, B., Wands, D., Watson, S., Wyman, M., Yadav, A., Valkenburg, W., Zaldarriaga, M. AMER INST PHYSICS. 2009: 10–120
  • CMBPol Mission Concept Study: Probing Inflation with CMB Polarization AIP Conf. Proc. Baumann, D. 2009: 10
  • Monodromy in the CMB: Gravity waves and string inflation PHYSICAL REVIEW D Silverstein, E., Westphal, A. 2008; 78 (10)
  • Simple de Sitter solutions PHYSICAL REVIEW D Silverstein, E. 2008; 77 (10)
  • String cosmology: a review GENERAL RELATIVITY AND GRAVITATION McAllister, L., Silverstein, E. 2008; 40 (2-3): 565-605
  • Simple stringy dynamical supersymmetry breaking PHYSICAL REVIEW D Aharony, O., Kachru, S., Silverstein, E. 2007; 76 (12)
  • Dimensional duality PHYSICAL REVIEW D Green, D., Lawrence, A., McGreevy, J., Morrison, D. R., Silverstein, E. 2007; 76 (6)
  • Supercritical stability, transitions, and (pseudo)tachyons PHYSICAL REVIEW D Aharony, O., Silverstein, E. 2007; 75 (4)
  • New dimensions for wound strings: The modular transformation of geometry to topology PHYSICAL REVIEW D McGreevy, J., Silverstein, E., Starr, D. 2007; 75 (4)
  • Retrofitting O'Raifeartaigh models with dynamical scales PHYSICAL REVIEW D Dine, M., Feng, J. L., Silverstein, E. 2006; 74 (9)
  • Attractor explosions and catalyzed vacuum decay PHYSICAL REVIEW D Green, D., Silverstein, E., Starr, D. 2006; 74 (2)
  • Dimensional mutation and spacelike singularities PHYSICAL REVIEW D Silverstein, E. 2006; 73 (8)
  • The inside story: Quasilocal tachyons and black holes PHYSICAL REVIEW D Horowitz, G. T., Silverstein, E. 2006; 73 (6)
  • A new handle on de sitter compactifications JOURNAL OF HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS Saltman, A., Silverstein, E. 2006
  • Things fall apart: topology change from winding tachyons JOURNAL OF HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS Adams, A., Liu, X., McGreevy, J., Saltman, A., Silverstein, E. 2005
  • The tachyon at the end of the universe JOURNAL OF HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS McGreevy, J., Silverstein, E. 2005
  • Hologravity JOURNAL OF HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS Alishahiha, M., Karch, A., Silverstein, E. 2005
  • TASI/PiTP/ISS lectures on moduli and microphysics Conference on Progess in String Theory Silverstein, E. WORLD SCIENTIFIC PUBL CO PTE LTD. 2005: 381–415
  • D-Sitter space: causal structure, thermodynamics, and entropy JOURNAL OF HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS Fabinger, M., Silverstein, E. 2004
  • DBI in the sky: Non-Gaussianity from inflation with a speed limit PHYSICAL REVIEW D Alishahiha, M., Silverstein, E., Tong, D. 2004; 70 (12)
  • Scalar speed limits and cosmology: Acceleration from D-cceleration PHYSICAL REVIEW D Silverstein, E., Tong, D. 2004; 70 (10)
  • The scaling of the no-scale potential and De-Sitter model building JOURNAL OF HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS Saltman, A., Silverstein, E. 2004
  • Generating small numbers by tunneling in multi-throat compactifications INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MODERN PHYSICS A Dimopoulos, S., Kachru, S., Kaloper, N., Lawrence, A., Silverstein, E. 2004; 19 (16): 2657-2704
  • Beauty is attractive: moduli trapping at enhanced symmetry points JOURNAL OF HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS Kofman, L., Linde, A., Liu, X., Maloney, A., McAllister, L., Silverstein, E. 2004
  • DBI in the sky Phys. Rev. D Alishahiha, M., Silverstein, E., Tong, D. 2004; 70: 123505
  • The dS/dS correspondence Conference on Strings and Cosmology Alishahiha, M., Karch, A., Silverstein, E., Tong, D. AMER INST PHYSICS. 2004: 393–409
  • TASI / PiTP / ISS lectures on moduli and microphysics TASI Silverstein, E. 2003
  • Clean time-dependent string backgrounds from bubble baths JOURNAL OF HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS Aharony, O., Fabinger, M., Horowitz, G. T., Silverstein, E. 2002
  • Nonlocal string theories on AdS(3)xS(3) and stable nonsupersymmetric backgrounds PHYSICAL REVIEW D Aharony, O., Berkooz, M., Silverstein, E. 2002; 65 (10)
  • Small numbers from tunneling between brane throats PHYSICAL REVIEW D Dimopoulos, S., Kachru, S., Kaloper, N., Lawrence, A., Silverstein, E. 2001; 64 (12)
  • Closed string tachyons, AdS/CFT, and large N QCD PHYSICAL REVIEW D Adams, A., Silverstein, E. 2001; 64 (8)
  • Don't panic! Closed string tachyons in ALE spacetimes JOURNAL OF HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS Adams, A., Polchinski, J., Silverstein, E. 2001
  • Multiple-trace operators and non-local string theories JOURNAL OF HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS Aharony, O., Berkooz, M., Silverstein, E. 2001
  • Extended objects from warped compactifications of M theory JOURNAL OF MATHEMATICAL PHYSICS Silverstein, E. 2001; 42 (7): 3161-3170
  • Gauge symmetry and localized gravity in M-theory JOURNAL OF HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS Kaloper, N., Susskind, L., Silverstein, E. 2001
  • Gauge fields, scalars, warped geometry, and strings International Superstrings Conference (STRINGS 2000) Silverstein, E. WORLD SCIENTIFIC PUBL CO PTE LTD. 2001: 641–49
  • (A)dS backgrounds from asymmetric orientifolds Strings 2001 Proceedings Silverstein, E. 2001
  • Bounds on curved domain walls in 5D gravity PHYSICAL REVIEW D Kachru, S., Schulz, M., Silverstein, E. 2000; 62 (8)
  • Self-tuning flat domain walls in 5D gravity and string theory PHYSICAL REVIEW D Kachru, S., Schulz, M., Silverstein, E. 2000; 62 (4)
  • Orientifolds, renormalization-group flows and closed string tachyons STRINGS'99 Conference Kachru, S., Kumar, J., Silverstein, E. IOP PUBLISHING LTD. 2000: 1139–50
  • Tension is dimension JOURNAL OF HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS Harvey, J. A., Kachru, S., Moore, G., Silverstein, E. 2000
  • On the critical behavior of D1-brane theories JOURNAL OF HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS Silverstein, E., Song, Y. S. 2000
  • Vacuum energy cancellation in a nonsupersymmetric string PHYSICAL REVIEW D Kachru, S., Kumar, J., Silverstein, E. 1999; 59 (10)
  • On vanishing two loop cosmological constants in nonsupersymmetric strings JOURNAL OF HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS Kachru, S., Silverstein, E. 1999
  • Strings, Branes And Gravity. Proceedings, Theoretical Advanced Study Institute, Tasi’99, Boulder, Usa, May 31-June 25, 1999 Theoretical Advanced Study Institute in Elementary Particle Physics (TASI 99): Strings, Branes, and Gravity Harvey, J. A., Kachru, S., Silverstein, E. 1999
  • Closing the generation gap International Conference - STRINGS 97 Silverstein, E. ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV. 1998: 274–278
  • 4D conformal field theories and strings on orbifolds PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS Kachru, S., Silverstein, E. 1998; 80 (22): 4855-4858
  • Matrix description of Calabi-Yau compactifications PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS Kachru, S., Lawrence, A., Silverstein, E. 1998; 80 (14): 2996-2999
  • Matrix description of (1,0) theories in six dimensions PHYSICS LETTERS B Aharony, O., Berkooz, M., Kachru, S., Silverstein, E. 1998; 420 (1-2): 55-63
  • Self-dual nonsupersymmetric type II string compactifications JOURNAL OF HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS Kachru, S., Silverstein, E. 1998
  • On the Matrix Description of Calabi-Yau Compactification Phys. Rev. Lett. Kachru, S., Lawrence, A., Silverstein, E. 1998; 80: 2996-2999
  • Chirality-changing phase transitions in 4d string vacua NUCLEAR PHYSICS B Kachru, S., Silverstein, E. 1997; 504 (1-2): 272-284
  • Zero and one-dimensional probes with N=8 supersymmetry PHYSICS LETTERS B Banks, T., Seiberg, N., Silverstein, E. 1997; 401 (1-2): 30-37
  • On gauge bosons in the matrix model approach to M theory PHYSICS LETTERS B Kachru, S., Silverstein, E. 1997; 396 (1-4): 70-76
  • Duality, compactification, and e(-1/lambda) effects in the heterotic string theory PHYSICS LETTERS B Silverstein, E. 1997; 396 (1-4): 91-96
  • New N=1 superconformal field theories in four dimensions from D-brane probes NUCLEAR PHYSICS B Aharony, O., Kachru, S., Silverstein, E. 1997; 488 (1-2): 159-176
  • Matrix Description of Interacting Theories in Six Dimensions Adv. Theor. Math. Phys. Aharony, O., Berkooz, M., Kachru, S., Seiberg, N., Silverstein, E. 1997; 1: 148
  • Singularities, gauge dynamics, and non-perturbative superpotentials in string theory NUCLEAR PHYSICS B Kachru, S., Silverstein, E. 1996; 482 (1-2): 92-104
  • SUSY gauge dynamics and singularities of 4d N=1 string vacua NUCLEAR PHYSICS B Kachru, S., Seiberg, N., Silverstein, E. 1996; 480 (1-2): 170-184
  • N=1 dual string pairs and gaugino condensation NUCLEAR PHYSICS B Kachru, S., Silverstein, E. 1996; 463 (2-3): 369-382
  • Singularities, Gauge Dynamics, and Nonperturbative Superpotentials in String Theory Nuclear Physics B Kachru, S., Silverstein, E. 1996; 482: 92-104
  • NONSUPERSYMMETRIC STRING SOLITONS NUCLEAR PHYSICS B Kachru, S., Silverstein, E. 1995; 456 (3): 622-632
  • CRITERIA FOR CONFORMAL-INVARIANCE OF (0,2)-MODELS NUCLEAR PHYSICS B Silverstein, E., Witten, E. 1995; 444 (1-2): 161-190
  • MIRACLE AT THE GEPNER POINT PHYSICS LETTERS B Silverstein, E. 1995; 352 (1-2): 69-74
  • GLOBAL U(1) R-SYMMETRY AND CONFORMAL-INVARIANCE OF (0,2) MODELS PHYSICS LETTERS B Silverstein, E., Witten, E. 1994; 328 (3-4): 307-311
  • LARGE SMALL EQUIVALENCE IN STRING THEORY PHYSICS LETTERS B Silverstein, E. 1992; 278 (1-2): 111-118
  • OH Masers and the Galactic Magnetic Field Astrophysical Journal Reid, M. J., Silverstein, E. 1990; 361: 483- 486