Juan M. Maldacena: Research Interests

I have been working on the general area of quantum field theory, string theory and quantum gravity, focusing on understanding the quantum nature of space time. This work involves theoretical explorations of the basic fundamental theories describing nature, such as the theories that we use to describe fundamental particles or the theory we use to describe spacetime. A central goal is to develop a theory that can describe a quantum mechanical spacetime and can explain the beginning of the universe. This has been approached by developing mathematical tools that can describe some aspects of the problem. A crucial idea has been string theory, which is a theory under construction, and consists of a web of ideas for how to go beyond the current physical theories.

An important question is the quantum mechanical description of black holes. This problem led to development of holographic descriptions of spacetime which describe quantum gravity in certain universes through a quantum system without gravity. In this picture spacetime should emerge from the quantum system. Understanding the details of how this happens continue to be an area of active investigation with interesting connections with quantum information theory and condensed matter physics. With the advent of quantum computers it might be possible to simulate interesting quantum systems that produce a spacetime that can be described by Einstein's equations.

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