Successful research activities at the frontier of high energy physics

European Physical Society awards AEI scientist Niklas Beisert with prestigious Gribov Medal.

July 23, 2007

For his important contributions to a better understanding of a four-dimensional quantum field theory the European Physical Society (EPS) awards Dr. Niklas Beisert, physicist at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute/AEI) in Potsdam-Golm/Germany, with the Gribov Medal. Towards this achievement, David J. Gross, Nobel laureate 2004, commented at the annual string theory conference 2007 in Madrid: “And if I had to choose anything that I thought was sort of the most interesting and most impressive calculation and achievement of the last year, it was the almost solution of large-N super Yang-Mills theory [...] it had been due to the work of Beisert and many others. And that I think is a remarkable development, very beautiful!”

The award ceremony will take place on July 23th 2007 at 9 a.m. in Bridgewater Hall, Manchester as a part of the 2007 Europhysics Conference on High Energy Physics.

“I am very honoured being awarded with this prestigious prize. It is a great motivation for working in this field of physics. The success is also due to the AEI because it provides a wonderful environment for my research with its interdisciplinary group of top-class scientists and visitors,” says Niklas Beisert.

Niklas Beisert, 29, returned in August 2006 from Princeton University to the AEI where he formed the Independent Junior Research Group “Duality & Integrable Structures”. The group’s research is focused on the integrable structures (structures that make a model solvable) which have recently been identified in gauge and string theories. The latter theories are an important foundation of modern theoretical particle physics, and are believed to be intimately related (dual) with each other. Integrable structures on the other hand, are best known from a very different field, condensed matter physics, where they are applied to magnetism and superconductivity.

One important challenge in particle physics is to understand all aspects of four-dimensional gauge theories because they provide the theoretical framework for the standard model of particle physics. Direct computations in these models follow simple and well-defined rules outlined by Richard Feynman. But unfortunately, applying them represents a formidable combinatorial and calculational problem. In some cases this has changed in the recent couple of years with the discovery of integrability in gauge theories. Scientists now can perform computations of the energy spectrum efficiently with a high precision allowing to testing the equivalence between gauge and string theories. Research in Niklas Beisert’s group centres on investigating and applying these integrable structures and studying further the connection between particle and condensed matter physics.
From 1996 to 2001 Beisert studied physics in Munich and London. For his PhD he moved to the AEI and received his doctoral degree in 2004 from the Humboldt University of Berlin. From 2004 to 2006 he researched, lectured and held an assistant professorship at Princeton University. In summer 2006 he returned to the AEI and now leads a Max Planck Society funded independent research group.

The Gribov Medal

is awarded every two years by the EPS to a young physicist for outstanding work performed in the field of theoretical particle physics and/or field theory. Niklas Beisert is recognised this year “for his contributions to the exploration of integrability properties of a four-dimensional quantum field theory, N=4 supersymmetric Yang Mills theory“. Niklas Beisert is the first European scientist working in Europe who is awarded with the Gribov Medal.

Laureates 2001 – 2005: 
2005: Matias Zaldarriaga, Harvard University 
2003: Nima Arkani-Hamed, Harvard University 
2001: Steven Gubser, Princeton University

Vladimir Naumovich Gribov

The Russian theorist Vladimir Naumovich Gribov (1930 – 1997) was one of the leading theoretical physicists of his time. He made seminal contributions to many fields, including quantum electrodynamics, neutrino physics, non-Abelian field theory and, in particular, the physics of hadron interactions at high energies. He was honoured with several memberships and prizes. His colleagues and students described him as exceptionally warm and cheerful personality, who generously shared his ideas.

Gribov received his PhD in theoretical physics in 1957 from the Physico-Technical Institute in Leningrad. From 1962 to 1980 he was the head of the Theory Division of the Particle Physics Department of that institute, which in 1971 became the Leningrad Institute for Nuclear Physics. In 1980 he moved to Moscow where he became head of the particle physics section of the Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics. From 1981 he regularly visited the Research Institute for Particle and Nuclear Physics in Budapest where he was a scientific adviser until his death in 1997.

The Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute)

Since its foundation in 1995, the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics has established itself as a leading international research center. The research program covers the entire spectrum of gravitational physics: from Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity to quantum gravity and string theory. Thus the "Quantum Gravity and Unified Theories" division is concerned with the unification of both fundamental theories of physics – general relativity and quantum mechanics – into a theory of quantum gravity. The "Astrophysical Relativity" division concentrates on gravitational wave research, black holes and the numerical solutions of Einstein's equations. The "Geometric Analysis and Gravitation" division is studying the physical foundations and mathematical methods of Einstein's theory of space-time and gravitation. The “Laser Interferometry and Gravitational Wave Astronomy” division is developing gravitational wave detectors – both earthbound and in space: they will make possible a new field of astronomical research. The new "Observational Relativity and Cosmology Division" – established at the beginning of 2007 – will have the AEI’s primary responsibility for ground-based gravitational wave data analysis and for developing the interface between data and theory. Currently, the AEI hosts two independent research groups, one of which is led by Niklas Beisert. The union of these important research fields in one institute is unique in the world.

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