Jeffrey Harvey

Professor, Physics Department, University of Chicago

Ph.D., Physics, California Institute of Technology, 1981

Research

My research focuses on string theory and particle physics with an occasional foray into cosmology.

Much of the success of particle physics is based on situations where there is a small parameter (such as the fine structure constant in QED) and quantities of physical interest can be expanded in a perturbative series in terms of this small parameter. However there are many interesting problems for which this is not the case. These include confinement and chiral symmetry breaking in QCD and probably the questions of supersymmetry breaking and the choice of vacuum in string theory. There has been recent progress in these "non-perturbative" problems by using ideas based on supersymmetry and duality. Duality often allows one to reformulate non-perturbative questions in terms of a dual, weakly coupled description.

My current research focuses on using ideas of string duality to study the structure of QCD, the theory of the strong interactions. I am particularly interested in the structure of chiral symmetry breaking and the restoration of chiral symmetry at finite temperature and its possible experimental manifestations at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider.

I am also interested in many other topics in particle physics, cosmology and string theory. These include the structure of solitons such as magnetic monopoles, the development of techniques for better understanding M theory, the uses of anomalies in field theory and string theory, and the possibility of a non-commutative structure to spacetime at small distance scales.