Eight New Distinguished Research Chairs Join Perimeter Institute


Perimeter Institute has appointed eight more outstanding international scientists as Distinguished Research Chairs.

Dr. Neil Turok, Director of Canada’s Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI), is pleased to announce the appointment of eight more outstanding international scientists as Perimeter Institute Distinguished Research Chairs.

In making the announcement, Dr. Turok stated, "We are thrilled to welcome these eight world-leading scientists to PI’s research community. Science is an inherently human process, and bringing the right people together is often the key to success. Each of these new DRCs will bring significant new ideas and expertise to PI. We cannot tell exactly what they will do, but based on their past record we know it will be very exciting."

Distinguished Research Chairs come to PI for extended periods each year to do research. The program enables them to be part of Perimeter’s scientific community while retaining permanent positions at their home institutions. The new appointees join PI’s 19 current Distinguished Research Chairs.

ABOUT THE NEW DISTINGUISHED RESEARCH CHAIRS

James Bardeen is an Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Washington in Seattle. He has made major contributions in general relativity and cosmology, including the formulation of the laws of black hole mechanics with Stephen Hawking and Brandon Carter and the development of a gauge-invariant approach to cosmological perturbations and the origin of large scale structure in the present universe from quantum fluctuations during an early epoch of inflation. His recent research has focused on improving calculations of the generation of gravitational radiation from merging black hole and neutron star binaries by formulating the Einstein equations on asymptotically null constant mean curvature hypersurfaces. This makes possible numerical calculations with an outer boundary at future null infinity, where waveforms can be read off directly, without any need for extrapolation. Dr. Bardeen received his PhD from Caltech under the direction of Richard Feynman.

Ganapathy Baskaran is an Emeritus Professor at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai in India, where he has recently founded the Quantum Science Centre. He has made important contributions to the field of strongly correlated quantum matter. Novel emergent quantum phenomena in matter, including biological ones, are his passion and research focus. He is well known for his contributions to the theory of high temperature superconductivity and for discovering emergent gauge fields in strongly correlated electron systems. He predicted p-wave superconductivity in Sr2RuO4, a system believed to support Majorana fermion mode, which is a popular qubit for topological quantum computation. In recent work, he predicted room temperature superconductivity in optimally doped graphene.

From 1976-2006, Baskaran contributed substantially to the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy where he worked closely with scientists from third and first world countries and helped run scientific programs. He received the S.S. Bhatnagar Award from the Prime Minister of India (1990), the Alfred Kasler ICTP Prize (1983), Fellowships of The Indian Academy of Sciences (1989), Indian National Science Academy (1991) and Third World Academy of Sciences (2008), and the Distinguished Alumni Award of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (2008).  

S. James Gates Jr. is the John S. Toll Professor and Director for the Center for String and Particle Theory at the University of Maryland, College Park. He has made numerous contributions to supersymmetry, supergravity, and superstring theory, including the introduction of complex geometries with torsion (a new contribution in the mathematical literature), and the suggestion of models of superstring theories that exit purely as four-dimensional constructs similar to the standard model of particle physics.

Professor Gates is a past recipient of the Public Understanding & Technology Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Klopsteg Award from the American Association of Physics Teachers. Professor Gates is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a Fellow of AAAS, and a past President of the National Society of Black Physicists. In 2011, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He currently serves on the U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, the Maryland State Board of Education, and the Board of Directors of the Fermi National Laboratory, and is on the Board of Trustees for the Society for Science and the Public.

Professor Gates’ current research probes questions on the relation between a set of graphs (given the name of 'Adinkras' from traditional African cultures), supersymmetry and a class of codes similar to those that allow browsers to operate in an error-free manner.  

Frans Pretorius is a Professor of Physics at Princeton University. His primary field of research interest is general relativity, specializing in numerical solution of the field equations. His work has included studies of gravitational collapse, black hole mergers, cosmic singularities, higher-dimensional gravity, models of black hole evaporation, and using gravitational wave observations to test the dynamical, strong-field regime of general relativity. He also designs algorithms to efficiently solve the equations in parallel on large computer clusters, and software to manipulate and visualize the simulation results. Among his honours, in 2007, Dr. Pretorius was awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, and was the 2010 recipient of the Aneesur Rahman Prize for Computational Physics of the American Physical Society. He is a Scholar in the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) Cosmology and Gravity Program.  

Eva Silverstein is a Professor of Physics at Stanford University in the department of physics and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). Dr. Silverstein's major contributions include predictive new mechanisms for inflationary cosmology, which helped motivate a more systematic understanding of the process and the role of UV-sensitive quantities in observational cosmology;  mechanisms for singularity resolution in string theory; a novel duality in string theory between extra dimensions and negative curvature; extensions of the AdS/CFT correspondence to more realistic field theories (with applications to particle physics and condensed matter model building) and to landscape theories; and simple mechanisms for stabilizing the extra dimensions of string theory. She is a former MacArthur Fellow and past recipient of a Sloan Research Fellowship. Dr. Silverstein's current interests range over many of these areas.  

Paul Steinhardt is the Albert Einstein Professor in Science and Director of the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science at Princeton University. Dr. Steinhardt is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He shared the P.A.M. Dirac Medal from the International Centre for Theoretical Physics for the development of the inflationary model of the universe, and the Oliver E. Buckley Prize of the APS for his contributions to the theory of quasicrystals. His research interests include particle physics, astrophysics, cosmology and condensed matter physics. Recently, with Neil Turok, he has developed a cyclic model for cosmology, according to which the big bang is explained as a collision between two "brane-worlds" in M-theory. In addition to his continued research on inflationary and cyclic cosmology, Dr. Steinhardt has been one of the developers of a new class of disordered "hyperuniform" photonic materials with complete bandgaps, and he conducted a systematic search for natural quasicrystals that has culminated in discovering the first known example. He is currently organizing an expedition to Far Eastern Russia to find more samples and study the local geology where they are found.  

Gerard ’t Hooft is a Professor at the Institute for Theoretical Physics at Utrecht University. He shared the 1999 Nobel Prize in Physics with Martinus J. G. Veltman "for elucidating the quantum structure of electroweak interactions." His research interests include gauge theories in elementary particle physics, quantum gravity and black holes, and fundamental aspects of quantum physics. In addition to being a Nobel laureate, Dr. 't Hooft  is a past winner of the Wolf Prize, the Lorentz Medal, the Franklin Medal and the High Energy Physics Prize from the European Physical Society, among other honours. He is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and is a foreign member of many other science academies, including the French Académie des Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences (US), and the Institute of Physics (UK).

Professor 't Hooft's present research concentrates on the question of nature's dynamical degrees of freedom at the tiniest possible scales. In his latest model, local conformal invariance is a spontaneously broken symmetry, which may have very special implications for the interactions between elementary particles.  

Senthil Todadri is an Associate Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Dr. Todadri’s research interests are in condensed matter theory. Specifically, he is working to develop a theoretical framework to describe the behaviour of electronic quantum matter in circumstances in which individual electrons have no integrity. A prime example is the quest for a replacement to the Landau theory of Fermi liquids that describes many metals extremely successfully but fails in a number of situations studied in modern experiments in condensed matter physics. He is a past Sloan Research Fellow and winner of a Research Innovation Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement.

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