Dr. Ro Jefferson

Am Mühlenberg 1

14476 Potsdam


Dr. Ro Jefferson

Dr. Ro Jefferson
Dr. Ro Jefferson
Junior Scientist/Postdoc

Gravity, Quantum Fields and Information

Location Potsdam

Main Focus

I am broadly interested in quantum gravity, particularly in the context of holography. AdS/CFT provides a concrete paradigm in which to investigate such questions as the emergence of spacetime from quantum entanglement, the reconstruction of black hole interiors, and the localization of information in gravitational theories.

One focus of my current research is holographic complexity, which is conjectured to encode dynamical information about the interior of the Einstein-Rosen bridge that joins two entangled black holes. In this sense, complexity allows one to probe beyond the holographic shadows elucidated by my previous research, which pose barriers to existing bulk reconstruction schemes. Additionally, some of our group's work demonstrates that complexity contains information to which entanglement entropy is insensitive, and hence represents a novel probe of dynamical quantum systems. I'm currently investigating information geometry as a potential means of shedding deeper light on these ideas, and the connections between entanglement and spacetime structure more generally.

I am also interested in applying ideas from algebraic quantum field theory (AQFT), particularly Tomita-Takesaki modular theory, to these and other fundamental questions. For example, my recent work applies this framework to the study of black hole interiors, and demonstrates that state dependence is an inevitable feature of any attempt to represent information behind horizons, with potential implications for locality and emergent spacetime. Modular techniques also show promise for studying notoriously thorny questions of entanglement in quantum field theory, such as those which underlie the firewall paradox, or the factorization of gauge or gravitational theories.

More recently, I've branched into the surprisingly rich intersection of physics, information theory, and machine learning. Ideas from statistical thermodynamics and quantum field theory, for example, have recently been applied to the study of deep neural networks. I'm interested in such questions as how information propagates in neural networks (both biological and artificial), whether insights from physics can shed light on hierarchical models or the relevance of criticality, and the precise conditions under which complex phenomena like intelligence may arise.


My publications in high-energy physics can be found on INSPIRE, or by following the links on my ORCID profile. I also write about a wide range of topics I encounter in the course of my research on my blog.

Curriculum Vitae

I did my PhD with Ben Freivogel at the University of Amsterdam, where I primarily focused on various aspects of bulk reconstruction, as well as the black hole information or firewall paradox. I spent eight months at the Perimeter Institute as a visiting graduate fellow, during which Rob Myers and I developed a first concrete definition for complexity in field theory in the context of the holographic proposal mentioned above. I am currently a member of the independent research group Gravity, Quantum Fields and Information (GQFI), where I continue to study questions at the intersection of quantum gravity, quantum field theory, and quantum information.


I am a non-binary transgender person, and actively support a more inclusive work culture for trans/non-binary as well as women scientists at all levels. Please note that the correct pronoun to use when referring to me is the singular they

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