Hollis Professor of Mathematicks and Natural Philosophy
Cumrun Vafa is the Hollis Professor of Mathematicks and Natural Philosophy in the Physics Department at Harvard University, where he has done research and taught theoretical physics since 1985. Born in Iran in 1960, he moved to the US for higher education where he received his B.S. in math and physics from MIT before moving to Princeton University, where he received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics.
Cumrun Vafa is world-renowned for his groundbreaking work in string theory and the mathematical technology needed to explore this field. He is one of the founders of the duality revolution in string theory, which has reshaped our understanding of the fundamental laws of the universe. He has uncovered mysteries of black holes using topological aspects of string theory and is the founder of 'F-theory' which is one of the most promising directions in connecting string theory solutions known as the 'string landscape' to particle physics. His ideas related to apparently consistent, but ultimately inconsistent, theories of quantum gravity which he initiated in the `swampland’ project has helped narrow down the vast string landscape and is currently an active area of research with impact on cosmology, as well as particle phenomenology.
Cumrun Vafa has received numerous prizes and recognitions for his work on theoretical physics including the 2017 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, the 2008 Dirac Medal of ICTP and prizes for his work on mathematical physics from American Mathematical Society, as well as American Physical Society. He is a member of National Academy of Sciences as well as the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
He has given numerous public talks on the relation between string theory, physics and geometry.