Assistant professor, Department of Physics
areas of expertise: theoretical particle physics, gravity and string theory, physics
Allan Adams uses string theoretic techniques to study quantum gravity and, increasingly, nongravitational many-body systems such as superconductors.
Like water, string theory enjoys many distinct phases in which the low-energy phenomena take qualitatively different forms. In its most familiar phases, string theory reduces to a perturbative theory of quantum gravity. In other phases, when the gravitational interactions become strong and a smooth space-time geometry ceases to be a good approximation, a more convenient description involves particle physics and fluid dynamics without gravity. Remarkably, these two descriptions — with and without gravity — appear to be completely equivalent, with one remaining easy to study when its dual is strongly interacting. This equivalence, known as gauge-gravity duality, allows us to study strongly quantum many-body systems (for example, toy models for high-temperature superconductors) by studying the classical physics of their weakly-coupled duals.
A major focus of Adams's present research is to use such dualities to find useful descriptions of strongly interacting condensed matter systems which can be realized in the lab.
Allan Adams has been an assistant professor at MIT since 2008. He earned his AB in physics from Harvard University in 1998, his MA from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2000, his PhD from Stanford University in 2003 and was a junior fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows before moving to MIT.
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