|Known for|| M(atrix) Theory |
Banks–Zaks fixed point
|Institutions|| Rutgers |
University of California, Santa Cruz
|Doctoral advisor||Carl M. Bender|
|Doctoral students||Lubos Motl|
Thomas Israel Banks(born April 19, 1949 in New York City ) is a theoretical physicist and professor at Rutgers University and University of California, Santa Cruz.
Banks' work centers around string theory and its applications to high energy particle physics and cosmology. He received his Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1973. In 1973-86 he was appointed at the Tel Aviv University,he was several times a visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (1976–78, 1983–84, and in the fall of 2010).
Along with Willy Fischler, Stephen Shenker, and Leonard Susskind, he is one of the four originators of M(atrix) theory, or BFSS Matrix Theory, an attempt to formulate M theory in a nonperturbative manner. Banks proposed a conjecture known as Asymptotic Darkness - it posits that the physics above the Planck scale is dominated by black hole production. He has often criticized the widely held assumption in the string theory community that background spacetimes with different asymptotics can represent different vacua states of the same theory of quantum gravity. Rather, Banks argues that different asymptotics correspond to different models of quantum gravity.Many of his arguments for this and other ideas are contained in his paper "A Critique of Pure String Theory: Heterodox Opinions of Diverse Dimensions." published in 2003.
The holographic principle is a property of string theories and a supposed property of quantum gravity that states that the description of a volume of space can be thought of as encoded on a lower-dimensional boundary to the region — such as a light-like boundary like a gravitational horizon. First proposed by Gerard 't Hooft, it was given a precise string-theory interpretation by Leonard Susskind, who combined his ideas with previous ones of 't Hooft and Charles Thorn. Leonard Susskind said, “The three-dimensional world of ordinary experience––the universe filled with galaxies, stars, planets, houses, boulders, and people––is a hologram, an image of reality coded on a distant two-dimensional surface." As pointed out by Raphael Bousso, Thorn observed in 1978 that string theory admits a lower-dimensional description in which gravity emerges from it in what would now be called a holographic way. The prime example of holography is the AdS/CFT correspondence.
M-theory is a theory in physics that unifies all consistent versions of superstring theory. Edward Witten first conjectured the existence of such a theory at a string theory conference at the University of Southern California in 1995. Witten's announcement initiated a flurry of research activity known as the second superstring revolution. Prior to Witten's announcement, string theorists had identified five versions of superstring theory. Although these theories initially appeared to be very different, work by many physicists showed that the theories were related in intricate and nontrivial ways. Physicists found that apparently distinct theories could be unified by mathematical transformations called S-duality and T-duality. Witten's conjecture was based in part on the existence of these dualities and in part on the relationship of the string theories to a field theory called eleven-dimensional supergravity.
Quantum gravity (QG) is a field of theoretical physics that seeks to describe gravity according to the principles of quantum mechanics. It deals with environments in which neither gravitational nor quantum effects can be ignored, such as in the vicinity of black holes or similar compact astrophysical objects, such as neutron stars.
In physics, string theory is a theoretical framework in which the point-like particles of particle physics are replaced by one-dimensional objects called strings. String theory describes how these strings propagate through space and interact with each other. On distance scales larger than the string scale, a string looks just like an ordinary particle, with its mass, charge, and other properties determined by the vibrational state of the string. In string theory, one of the many vibrational states of the string corresponds to the graviton, a quantum mechanical particle that carries the gravitational force. Thus, string theory is a theory of quantum gravity.
Edward Witten is an American mathematical and theoretical physicist. He is a professor emeritus in the school of natural sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Witten is a researcher in string theory, quantum gravity, supersymmetric quantum field theories, and other areas of mathematical physics. Witten's work has also significantly impacted pure mathematics. In 1990, he became the first physicist to be awarded a Fields Medal by the International Mathematical Union, for his mathematical insights in physics, such as his 1981 proof of the positive energy theorem in general relativity, and his interpretation of the Jones invariants of knots as Feynman integrals. He is considered the practical founder of M-theory.
Lee Smolin is an American theoretical physicist, a faculty member at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, an adjunct professor of physics at the University of Waterloo and a member of the graduate faculty of the philosophy department at the University of Toronto. Smolin's 2006 book The Trouble with Physics criticized string theory as a viable scientific theory. He has made contributions to quantum gravity theory, in particular the approach known as loop quantum gravity. He advocates that the two primary approaches to quantum gravity, loop quantum gravity and string theory, can be reconciled as different aspects of the same underlying theory. He also advocates an alternative view on space and time that he calls temporal naturalism. His research interests also include cosmology, elementary particle theory, the foundations of quantum mechanics, and theoretical biology.
In physics, the term swampland refers to effective low-energy physical theories which are not compatible with quantum gravity. This is in contrast with the so-called "string theory landscape" that are known to be compatible with string theory, which is believed to be a consistent quantum theory of gravity. In other words, the Swampland is the set of consistent-looking theories with no consistent ultraviolet completion with the addition of gravity.
Juan Martín Maldacena is an Argentine theoretical physicist and the Carl P. Feinberg Professor in the School of Natural Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. He has made significant contributions to the foundations of string theory and quantum gravity. His most famous discovery is the AdS/CFT correspondence, a realization of the holographic principle in string theory.
In theoretical physics, the anti-de Sitter/conformal field theory correspondence, sometimes called Maldacena duality or gauge/gravity duality, is a conjectured relationship between two kinds of physical theories. On one side are anti-de Sitter spaces (AdS) which are used in theories of quantum gravity, formulated in terms of string theory or M-theory. On the other side of the correspondence are conformal field theories (CFT) which are quantum field theories, including theories similar to the Yang–Mills theories that describe elementary particles.
Leonard Susskind is an American physicist, who is a professor of theoretical physics at Stanford University, and founding director of the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics. His research interests include string theory, quantum field theory, quantum statistical mechanics and quantum cosmology. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an associate member of the faculty of Canada's Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and a distinguished professor of the Korea Institute for Advanced Study.
Background independence is a condition in theoretical physics that requires the defining equations of a theory to be independent of the actual shape of the spacetime and the value of various fields within the spacetime. In particular this means that it must be possible not to refer to a specific coordinate system—the theory must be coordinate-free. In addition, the different spacetime configurations should be obtained as different solutions of the underlying equations.
Erik Peter Verlinde is a Dutch theoretical physicist and string theorist. He is the identical twin brother of physicist Herman Verlinde. The Verlinde formula, which is important in conformal field theory and topological field theory, is named after him. His research deals with string theory, gravity, black holes and cosmology. Currently, he works at the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of Amsterdam.
Stephen Hart Shenker is an American theoretical physicist who works on string theory. He is a professor at Stanford University and former director of the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics. His brother Scott Shenker is a computer scientist.
The history of string theory spans several decades of intense research including two superstring revolutions. Through the combined efforts of many researchers, string theory has developed into a broad and varied subject with connections to quantum gravity, particle and condensed matter physics, cosmology, and pure mathematics.
Jan Ambjørn is a Danish theoretical physicist. He received his PhD in 1980 at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, followed by postdoctoral research positions at Caltech and Nordita. He has been employed at the Niels Bohr Institute from 1986, since 1992 as professor in theoretical physics. From 2003 to 2010 he was also a professor at Utrecht University, and since 2012 he has been a professor at Radboud University, both in the Netherlands.
Luboš Motl is a Czech physicist and blogger. He was an assistant professor in physics at Harvard University from 2004 to 2007. His scientific publications were focused on string theory. He is currently a visiting scholar at Rutgers in high energy physics.
In non-technical terms, M-theory presents an idea about the basic substance of the universe. As of 2022, science has produced no experimental evidence to support the conclusion that M-theory is a description of the real world. Although a complete mathematical formulation of M-theory is not known, the general approach is the leading contender for a universal "Theory of Everything" that unifies gravity with other forces such as electromagnetism. M-theory aims to unify quantum mechanics with general relativity's gravitational force in a mathematically consistent way. In comparison, other theories such as loop quantum gravity are considered by physicists and researchers/students to be less elegant, because they posit gravity to be completely different from forces such as the electromagnetic force.
Raphael Bousso is a theoretical physicist and cosmologist. He is a professor at the Berkeley Center for Theoretical Physics in the Department of Physics, UC Berkeley. He is known for the Bousso bound on the information content of the universe. With Joseph Polchinski, Bousso proposed the string theory landscape as a solution to the cosmological constant problem.
Asymptotic safety is a concept in quantum field theory which aims at finding a consistent and predictive quantum theory of the gravitational field. Its key ingredient is a nontrivial fixed point of the theory's renormalization group flow which controls the behavior of the coupling constants in the ultraviolet (UV) regime and renders physical quantities safe from divergences. Although originally proposed by Steven Weinberg to find a theory of quantum gravity, the idea of a nontrivial fixed point providing a possible UV completion can be applied also to other field theories, in particular to perturbatively nonrenormalizable ones. In this respect, it is similar to quantum triviality.
Patricio Anibal Letelier Sotomayor was a Chilean mathematical physicist and professor at University of Campinas (UNICAMP).