Cumrun Vafa

1989 Fellow

Current Institution: Harvard University


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About Cumrun Vafa's Work

My primary area of research is string theory. String theory is at the center of efforts by theoretical physicists to find a unified fundamental theory of nature— that is, all particles and the forces between them—in a consistent quantum theory. In a single theory, one studies the mysteries of confinement of quarks inside atomic nuclei, as well as enigmatic properties of astrophysical objects such as black holes. String theorists have the exciting task of building new mathematics as tools to explore new laws of physics. Therefore, string theory is at the crossroads of many fields, including mathematics, particle phenomenology and astrophysics—my research has involved all these aspects. Together with colleagues, we have worked on topological strings, tried to elucidate new mathematics originating from string theory, and used these techniques to uncover the mysteries of black holes, particularly the Bekenstein-Hawking entropy.

Awards and Achievements

Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Received the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics

Received Dirac Medal of ICTP

AMS Eisenbud Prize in Mathematical Physics

APS Dannie Heinemann Prize in Mathematical Physics