Sean P. Robinson


MIT Department of Physics

Updated March, 2014

Photo by Heather Williams

I am a theoretical particle physicist with very broad interests across physics and other sciences. As a teacher, I oversee operation of the Helena Foundation Junior Laboratory, which hosts the experimental physics advanced laboratory sequence 8.13/8.14, also known as "Junior Lab". Yes, that's right, I'm in charge of teaching experimental physics. It's weird to me, too.

At various times in the past, I have held the following positions in the Department of Physics at MIT:

  • Academic Administrator, responsible for executing the academic program of the Dept
  • lecturer in 8.01, aka Physics I, aka Introduction to Newtonian Mechanics
  • Technical Instructor in Junior Lab
  • graduate student, splitting my time about equally between research in theoretical physics and teaching experimental physics
  • undergraduate student, bouncing between optical astronomy, solar wind physics, and quantum computer algorithms

    Sometime in the middle of the above sequence, I was employed in the construction of a mid-sized facility for research, education, and administration for the MIT Physics Department, known variously as the PDSI project or the Green Center for Physics. That was a great challenge and I enjoyed the work, but I'm happy to be a scientist and a teacher again. On the other hand, I don't get much opportunity to wear a hard hat any more. (See above photo.)

    I do still get some research done on the side.

    There is some interest in my Ph.D. thesis (MIT Physics, 2005). Find it here or here.

    Here is my Ph.D. lineage. I have an Erdos number of 4. Here are my publications and preprints. Here is a PDF of my comprehensive CV (as of 17 March 2014).

    I am over 1 billion seconds old, as of July 20, 2009.

    Below is a listing of my research interests, but I've recently started keeping track of my projects using MediaWiki software via MIT SIPB's scripts service for a personal wiki at Wikispatrick. Wikis are so much more useful for this purpose than static html, don't you agree?

    Research interests:

  • Quantum Field Theory
  • General Relativity
  • GR as an effective field theory
  • Semiclassical gravity / QFT in curved spacetime
  • Quantum black holes
  • Quantum anomalies
  • Advanced laboratory instruction

    Other Physics interests (someday research interests):

  • Casimir effects, and QFT in non-trivial backgrounds in general.
  • Quantum computer algorithms
  • Spacetime swimming.
  • Topological Quantum Computing, theory and experiment
  • Asymptotically safe quantum field theories.
  • Field strength cutoff renormalization group.
  • The Atomic/Condensed Matter Physics merger, theory and experiment.
  • applications of General Relativity methods to Atomic/Condensed matter, and vice-versa
  • Biophysical dynamics of prion diseases, aka "How Now Mad Cow?"
  • Stat mech / network applications to cognitive science, in particular to questions of consciousness/awareness in general anesthesia, autism, and the like.
  • Most of physics. Astrophysics. Cosmology. Particle Physics. Nuclear Physics. Statistical Physics. Stringishly Theory. Nonlinear dynamics. Energy/Environment issues. Etc.

    PDSI, Dept of Physics, Green Center for Physics, Curriculum Vitae, lineage, SPIRES.

    Other things that are important:

    Photo by Justin Knight
    Sean, Jamie, Anna (age 4), and Alexander (age 1) at the 2006 MIT Physics Fall Reception.

    I used to live here (1995-1999) and am proud of it. I like judo and wrestling.

    Here's what I've been listening to lately:

    Here is what banditos have to say about all this.

    Don't I find the official MIT logo somewhat embarrassing? Why, yes I do.

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    Last modified: Mon Mar 17 09:49:45 Eastern Daylight Time 2014