Andrew Strominger

Harvard University

Primary Section: 13, Physics
Membership Type: Member (elected 2011)

Research Interests

The fundamental laws of nature, as we currently understand them, are both incomplete and self-contradictory. Unsolved problems include the unification of forces and particles, the origin of the universe and the quantum structure of black holes and event horizons. Professor Strominger's research has endeavored to shed light on these problems using a variety of approaches. The emergence of string theory as a potential unified theory of nature began with Strominger's co-discovery of Calabi-Yau compactifications(1). This construction demonstrated that string theory not only reconciles quantum mechanics and gravity, but can also contain within it electrons, protons, photons and all the other observed particles and forces, and hence is a viable candidate for a complete unified theory of nature. Strominger co-discovered the brane solutions of string theory(2), and subsequently used them to unravel the intricate and beautiful duality symmetries of the theory. The branes were eventually used by Strominger and collaborators to give a microscopic demonstration of how black holes are able to holographically store information(3); resolving a deep paradox uncovered by Hawking and Bekenstein a quarter century earlier. He and coworkers also used the branes to derive new relations in algebraic geometry, equating the moduli space of a brane in a Calabi-Yau space to the mirror Calabi-Yau4, and relating the Donaldson-Thomas to the Gromov-Witten invariants.(5)

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