Research on String Theory and Gauge Theory

Grants and Contracts Details


The research described in this proposal will consist of several projects involving string theory, gravity, conformal field theories, and gauge theories. This proposal should be viewed as a request for continuation of funding for a current NSF project. The primary intellectual merit of the proposed activity will be to extend our knowledge of fundamental physics in several directions, and to apply this knowledge to diverse areas of physics. The project will aim to improve our understanding of quantum gravity and quantum field theories using holographic duality, of the dynamics and critical properties of strongly coupled field theories, and of time-dependent and nonequilibrium phenomena. More specifically, the PI will conduct research aimed at studying non-equilibrium phenomena in strongly coupled field theories using the holographic correspondence, understanding the meaning of bulk cosmological singularities in gauge-gravity duality and the emergence of the holographic direction using collective field theory techniques. The co-PI will investigate universal properties of conformal field theories using bootstrap techniques and implications for dual gravitational theories; "time crystal" field theories with spontaneously broken time-translation invariance and their realizations in cosmology and condensed matter systems; symmetries and exotic states of the quantum Hall system. The PI and co-PI have extensive research experience in these areas and plan to integrate their past work with new ideas in order to attack the problems described. In order to carry out the proposed research, summer research salary, support for a post-doctoral associate and two graduate students, travel funds for collaborative visits and conferences, and a modest amount for inviting short-term visitors are requested. The funds requested under consultant services will be used to invite leading workers in the field to visit the University of Kentucky to give seminars and to engage in detailed discussions which could lead to future collaborations. A few distinguished visitors will be invited to deliver popular lectures aimed at encouraging young undergraduates to choose physics as a career and to disseminate frontier results in physics among a broad cross-section of the community. Over the past several years the string theory group at University of Kentucky has established itself as a viable active research group with a good record in publication, visibility and placement of students and postdoctoral researchers after they finish their term. Apart from the two Investigators, the Department has three other high energy theorists with active and funded research programs. A search is underway for an additional high energy theorist, who would be likely to collaborate with the Investigators. The UK group has strong ties with the nearby University of Cincinnati and Ohio State University, through collaboration and day-long meetings several times a year. One of the broader impacts resulting from the proposed activity will be to support high- quality scientific research, enhance the quality of undergraduate and graduate physics education, and increase awareness of frontier physics research in the Kentucky region. The University of Kentucky is the only university in the state of Kentucky which grants a Ph.D. degree in Physics. Kentucky is among the states with the lowest NSF funding levels in the country and participates in the NSF EPSCoR program. The present project will also benefit underrepresented groups directly since the PI is of Asian origin. In addition, the group currently supports a minority postdoc with funding from the University of Kentucky.
Effective start/end date9/15/158/31/19


  • National Science Foundation: $269,999.00


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