Cumrun Vafa is the Hollis Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy at Harvard University. He received his BS in Math and Physics from MIT in 1981 and his PhD in Physics from Princeton University under the direction of Edward Witten in 1985. Vafa’s primary area of research is string theory. String theory is at the center of efforts by theoretical physicists to find a unified fundamental theory of nature— that is, all particles and the forces between them—in a consistent quantum theory. Together with colleagues he has worked on topological strings, tries to elucidate new mathematics originating from string theory, and uses these techniques to uncover the mysteries of black holes, particularly the Bekenstein-Hawking entropy. Cumrun Vafa is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences and has received many awards and recognitions for his work including the 2017 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.