Weizmann Institute of Science
Faculty of Physics

 

Contact Information

Tel : 972-8-9342652
Fax : 972-8-9344106
Bldg.:K.B. Weissman Institute of Physical Sciences
Rm.: 327 
Email: ofer.aharony@weizmann.ac.il

Secretariat: 
Corinne Hasdai 
Tel : 972-8-9343835
Email: 
corinne.hasdai@weizmann.ac.il

Publications

Ofer Aharony 

Associate Professor 
Department of Particle Physics 
Weizmann Institute 
76100
Rehovo
Israel
 

 

 

 

Current Research Interests

 

1. Strongly coupled field theories and confinement, Supersymmetric field theories,

    Large N field theories

2. Non-perturbative aspects of string/M theory

3. The AdS/CFT correspondence and its generalizations to other field theory/gravity

    dualities, and its applications for studying field theory and string/M theory

 

    The standard model of particle physics provides an excellent description of most

particle physics processes observed experimentally. Theoretically, there are two main

problems with this model : the strong nuclear interactions (QCD) are strongly coupled at low

energies so it is difficult to use the standard model gauge theory to obtain predictions

for properties like meson and baryon masses, and the model does not contain quantum

gravity.

    One main research direction I am interested in is the understanding of the strong

coupling behavior of field theories like QCD, in order to understand issues like confinement

and chiral symmetry breaking. One method which is useful is to study supersymmetric

field theories. These theories are similar in many ways to QCD, and exhibit (in some

cases) the same qualitative behavior, but due to the power of supersymmetry many of

their properties may be computed exactly (even at strong coupling) so one has some

control over issues like confinement and chiral symmetry breaking. Another useful method

is the large N expansion (pioneered by 't Hooft), where again some exact results may be

obtained concerning the strong coupling behavior in the limit of a large number of colors,

which perhaps could be extended to the case of the strong interactions (for which N=3).

    My other main interest is in quantum gravity, which is believed to be well-described by

string theory. The non-perturbative formulation of this theory is not yet completely

understood, though it is understood in some gravitational backgrounds. Some particularly

interesting problems in quantum gravity, which can hopefully be studied using string theory

(though they cannot be studied in string perturbation theory), are the general understanding

of the black hole entropy/area relation and the fate of cosmological singularities like the

big-bang singularity.

   Recently it has been realized that there is a direct relation between quantum field theories

and quantum theories of gravity (in some backgrounds), known as the AdS/CFT correspondence

(and its generalizations). In many cases this correspondence is related to 't Hooft's large N

expansion, which leads one to expect that large N field theories should be related to string

theories (and, thus, to theories of quantum gravity). The correspondence is a manifestation

of holography, which is expected to be a general property of quantum gravity. By studying this

correspondence one hopes to shed light both on properties of strongly coupled field theories

(which, in some cases, are mapped to weakly coupled theories of gravity) and on properties

of quantum gravity (which are mapped to properties of field theories). 

 

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