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HEPCAT Members

The HEPCAT group has over 20 members spanning a range of disciplines, from neural networks to quantum gravity. If you are interested in joining the group, please see the open positions page.


Group Members

Amanda Weltman

My research focus is on the fundamental physics that underlies the nature of the Universe. My goals are to study the Universe as a whole, while gaining insight into its origin, composition, structure, evolution and ultimately its fate. To that end, I work in high energy theory - working on building successful theories (of gravity and matter) that might explain all known observations so far while making new predictions, for example Chameleon Gravity. I also work on using the tools of high energy physics to try to solve open problems in astrophysics. On the more observational side, I am currently fascinated with Fast Radio Bursts, not only in trying to understand their progenitor mechanisms but also in the ways in which we can use them to solve open problems in cosmology. I am one of the Lead Investigators on the HIRAX project which is a 21cm intensity mapping experiment that will allow us to both learn about dark energy and its evolution and learn a fortune about FRBs by observing many tens of thousands of them.

Jeff Murugan (Associate Member)
Associate Professor and Deputy Dean of Science

As a mathematical physicist, my research interests lie primarily in understanding the mathematical structures that underpin much of the physical universe. Many of these structures are wonderfully universal, connecting physics on cosmological scales, to the smallest of quantum scales. My own work revolves largely around emergent phenomena, from condensed matter to neurophysics. My recent focus has been on low-dimensional dualities - where I was a co-discoverer of the 3D duality web - and topological quantum matter and information, including quantum chaos and complexity.

W. A. Horowitz (Associate Member)
Associate Professor

A microsecond after the Big Bang, all of space existed at a trillion degrees, one hundred thousand times hotter than the center of the sun. 13.8 billion years later, massive collaborations of thousands of scientists recreate these conditions of the early universe thousands of times a second in one of the most expensive and complicated science experiments ever attempted. Using perturbative quantum chromodynamics and the methods of the AdS/CFT correspondence I study the properties of these Little Bangs, ephemeral fireballs that--during their lifetimes of less than a billionth of a trillionth of a second--are droplets of the hottest, most perfect fluid in the universe.

Jonathan Shock (Associate Member)
Senior Lecturer

My primary research area over the last 15 years has been in string theory, principally using the holographic principle to understand QCD-like theories at strong coupling. In addition to this I have worked for the last few years in the analysis of biological and neuroscientific data (EEG, MRI) using traditional statistical as well as modern machine learning techniques. This machine learning work has now broadened and I am actively researching in reinforcement learning and its relationship with human cognition.

Nathan Moynihan

My research interests are mostly focussed on two areas: on-shell scattering amplitudes and quantum information theoretic measures in QFT. I am interested in utilising on-shell methods to probe theories of gravity, including theories other than general relativity. On the quantum information side, I am interested in understanding the roles of both entanglement entropy and computational complexity in quantum field theories, especially with a view to understanding aspects of gravity via the AdS/CFT correspondence.

Emma Platts
PhD Student

Interested in machine learning and data science, with applications to astrophysics and cosmology.

Kayla Hopley
MSc Student

I'm interested in the applications of the double copy to interesting theories of gravity. At the moment I am studying Black holes in Jackiw-Teitelboim gravity and their connection to sine-Gordon solitons.

Alexes Mes
MSC Student

The AdS/CFT correspondence can be used to qualitatively and quantitatively understand properties of the quark gluon plasma; such the Brownian motion of a heavy particle within this medium. To model Brownian motion, one theorizes that the gravitational analogue of a particle immersed in a thermal medium (specifically a test quark in the quark-gluon plasma) to be a fundamental string in the AdS_5 space. Using the AdS/CFT correspondence, heavy quark evolution has previously been studied, for example by de Boer et al. (JHEP 0907 (2009) 094). My project aims to explore light quark evolution in a thermal medium by performing a numerical analysis of open string evolution in AdS_5 space (where we introduce and numerically evolve fluctuations on the string). The goal of this project is to better connect AdS/CFT calculations of light quark evolution in a strongly-coupled non-Abelian plasma to heavy ion collision data measured at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and at Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN.