Pappalardo Fellows

Pappalardo Fellow in Physics: 2014-2017

Benjamin Safdi


Name: Benjamin Safdi

Title(s): Pappalardo Fellow in Physics


Phone: TBA


Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue, Bldg. 6C-433
Cambridge, MA 02139

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Area of Physics

Theoretical High Energy Physics

Research Interests

Ben Safdi is interested in both formal and applied aspects of high energy theoretical physics. One focus of his formal work is on strongly interacting quantum field theories in two spatial dimensions. These theories are relevant both to condensed matter physics and to string theory. Ben helped develop a theorem, called the F-theorem, that constrains how these two-dimensional systems may evolve with decreasing energy. His current areas of interest in the field include entanglement entropy and higher spin symmetry.

Ben’s more applied work focuses on dark matter. He pointed out that the gravitational field of the Sun may have a significant effect on "annual modulation" at dark matter direct detection experiments, shifting the date of maximal rate
by over a month in some cases. He is also interested in axion dark matter scenarios, particularly in how they may be constrained through new direct detection concepts and through precision measurements from the early Universe.

Biographical Sketch

Ben Safdi grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a double major in applied mathematics and engineering physics. At Boulder, he worked with Prof. Jun Ye on broadband cavity ringdown spectroscopy and with Prof. Harvey Segur on nonlinear waves. Ben was then awarded a Churchill Scholarship and earned a Master of Advanced Study in applied mathematics and theoretical physics at Cambridge University. After arriving at Princeton University, he worked with Prof. Christopher Tully on the CMS experiment at CERN and earned his Ph.D. in 2014 in theoretical physics under Prof. Igor Klebanov. In his dissertation, Ben presented a method for characterizing the degrees of freedom in three-dimensional quantum field theory. At MIT, Ben continues to address fundamental questions in quantum field theory while working on aspects of dark matter and neutrino physics. In his free time, Ben enjoys rock climbing, which he used to do at a professional level.

Selected Publications

  • Samuel K. Lee, Mariangela Lisanti, Annika H. G. Peter, and Benjamin R. Safdi. Effect of Gravitational Focusing on Annual Modulation in Dark Matter Direct Detection Experiments. Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, 011301, 2014.
  • Simone Giombi, Igor R. Klebanov, and Benjamin R. Safdi. Higher Spin AdS_(d+1)/CFT_d at One Loop. arXiv:1401.0825, 2014.
  • Samuel K. Lee, Mariangela Lisanti, and Benjamin R. Safdi. Dark Matter Harmonics Beyond Annual
    Modulation. JCAP, 1311:033, 2013.
  • Simone Giombi, Igor R. Klebanov, Silviu S. Pufu, Benjamin R. Safdi, and Grigory Tarnopolsky. AdS
    Description of Induced Higher Spin Gauge Theory. JHEP, 1310:016, 2013.
  • Benjamin R. Safdi. Exact and Numerical Results on Entanglement Entropy in (5+1) Dimensional CFT.
    JHEP, 1212:005, 2012.
  • Igor R. Klebanov, Silviu S. Pufu, and Benjamin R. Safdi. F-Theorem without Supersymmetry. JHEP,
    1110:038, 2011.
  • Daniel L. Jafferis, Igor R. Klebanov, Silviu S. Pufu, and Benjamin R. Safdi. Towards the F-Theorem: N=2
    Field Theories on the Three Sphere. JHEP, 1106:102, 2011.

Last updated on April 13, 2015 2:57 PM