Maxim Zabzine, theoretical physics

Photo: Mikael Wallerstedt

My research is in theoretical and mathematical physics, specialising in quantum field theory and string theory. String theory is a quantum theory for gravity, that is, a theory that unifies quantum effects with the effects of gravity. Quantum effects are not directly observable in everyday life, but they play a fundamental role in many important situations in physics, for example in black holes and the origin of the universe.

I have specialised in the application of modern geometry in string theory and quantum field theory. The history of geometry is intimately intertwined with that of physics. In modern times, since Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity showed that gravity is geometry, we have been aware that time and space are not passive arenas for physical events but rather dynamic parts of the physical processes. Nowadays virtually all concepts in basic physics are geometrical in nature, and the emphasis in the mathematics that is most relevant to describing fundamental physics has shifted from analysis, with its mainly local arguments, to geometry and topology, which is more global in character. In the last twenty years or more, string theory has come to play an ever-greater role on the boundary between physics and mathematics. This is where my main research interests lie.