Lynch Lecture: Dr. Juan Maldacena


Location: 127 Nieuwland Science Hall

Lynch Lecture Series

Strings, gauge theories and gravity

Prof. Juan Maldacena
Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton


Gauge theories, such as the one describing strong interactions, contain string-like excitations. String theory is a theory describing the quantum dynamics of strings. The simplest versions of string theory live in a ten dimensional spacetime. We will explain how these strings are intimately connected to the strings that appear in four dimensional gauge theories. The four dimensional gauge theory gives rise to a string-like excitation that lives in ten dimensions. The ten dimensional space is curved in such a way that its quantum dynamics is equivalent to that of a four dimensional quantum field theory. This relation is useful to understand strongly interacting gauge theories. It can also be used to explain some quantum aspects of black holes.


Juan Maldacena’s work focuses on quantum gravity, string theory, and quantum field theory. He has proposed a relationship between quantum gravity and quantum field theories that elucidates various aspects of both theories. He is studying this relationship further in order to understand the deep connection between black holes and quantum field theories, and he is also exploring the connection between string theory and cosmology.

Princeton University, Ph.D. 1996; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Research Associate 1996–97; Harvard University, Visiting Associate Professor 1997, Tomas D. Cabot Associate Professor 1998–99, Professor 1999–2001; Institute for Advanced Study, Member 1999, Visiting Professor 2000–01, Professor 2002–; Sloan Fellowship 1998; Packard Fellowship 1998; MacArthur Fellowship 1999; National Academy of Sciences, Member; UNESCO, Javed Husain Prize for Young Scientists 1999; Sackler Prize in Physics 2000; Pius XI Medal 2002; American Physical Society, Edward A. Bouchet Award 2004; American Institute of Physics and American Physical Society, Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics 2007; International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Dirac Prize and Medal 2008; Fundamental Physics Prize 2012; Pomeranchuk Prize 2012