Bio


Professor Shenker's contributions to Physics include:

- Basic results on the phase structure of gauge theories (with Eduardo Fradkin)
- Basic results on two dimensional conformal field theory and its relation to string theory (with Daniel Friedan, Emil Martinec, Zongan Qiu, and others)
- The nonperturbative formulation of matrix models of low-dimensional string theory, the first nonperturbative definitions of string theory (with Michael R. Douglas)
- The discovery of distinctively stringy nonperturbative effects in string theory, later understood to be caused by D-branes. These effects play a major role in string dynamics
- The discovery of Matrix Theory, the first nonperturbative definition of String/M theory in a physical number of dimensions. Matrix Theory (see Matrix string theory) is an example of a gauge/gravity duality and is now understood to be a special case of the AdS/CFT correspondence (with Tom Banks, Willy Fischler and Leonard Susskind)
- The discovery of the first distinct signature of the black hole singularity in AdS/CFT (with Lukasz Fidkowski, Veronika Hubeny and Matthew Kleban)

Academic Appointments


Administrative Appointments


  • Faculty, University of Chicago (1981 - 1989)
  • Professor, Rutgers University (1989 - 1998)
  • Professor, Stanford University (1998 - Present)
  • Director, Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics (1998 - 2008)

Honors & Awards


  • Member, National Academy of Science (2015)
  • Lars Onsager Prize, American Physical Society (2010)
  • Dean's Award for Distinguished Achievements in Teaching, Stanford University (2007)
  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2006)
  • Fellow, American Physical Society (2003)
  • Undergraduate Teaching Award, Rutgers Society of Physics Students (1992)
  • Fellow, MacArthur Foundation (1987)
  • Presidential Young Investigator Award, NSF (1985)
  • Fellow, Sloan Foundation (1983)

Professional Education


  • Ph.D., Cornell University (1980)
  • B.A., Harvard University (1975)

Current Research and Scholarly Interests


How can ideas from nonperturbative approaches to quantum gravity be applied to cosmology and the interiors of black holes?

Professor Shenker’s research focuses on string theory and M theory, with an emphasis on nonperturbative aspects, including matrix formulations.

2016-17 Courses


Stanford Advisees


All Publications