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Cumrun Vafa: On the Shoulders of Giants

Acknowledging the scientists who blazed intellectual trails before him, Isaac Newton wrote: “If I have seen a little further it was by standing on the shoulders of giants.” In this special series, we invite our audience to stand on the shoulders of a modern day giant.

We are honored to present an address by National Academy member Cumrun Vafa, Donner Professor of Science in the Department of Physics at Harvard University. Vafa’s primary area of research is string theory, which is at the center of efforts by theoretical physicists to find a unified fundamental theory of nature in a consistent quantum theory. Vafa’s address focuses on an innovative approach he has pioneered at Harvard, using mind-bending puzzles to teach subtle but essential concepts in physics and energize the next generation of giants to engage with forefront ideas.

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Cumrun Vafa: On the Shoulders of Giants

Acknowledging the scientists who blazed intellectual trails before him, Isaac Newton wrote: “If I have seen a little further it was by standing on the shoulders of giants.” In this special series, we invite our audience to stand on the shoulders of a modern day giant.

We are honored to present an address by National Academy member Cumrun Vafa, Donner Professor of Science in the Department of Physics at Harvard University. Vafa’s primary area of research is string theory, which is at the center of efforts by theoretical physicists to find a unified fundamental theory of nature in a consistent quantum theory. Vafa’s address focuses on an innovative approach he has pioneered at Harvard, using mind-bending puzzles to teach subtle but essential concepts in physics and energize the next generation of giants to engage with forefront ideas.

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Participants

Cumrun VafaPhysicist

Cumrun Vafa is a Donner Professor of Science in the Department of Physics at Harvard University. He received his BS in Math and Physics from MIT and his PhD in Physics from Princeton University under the direction of Edward Witten. Vafa’s primary area of research is string theory.

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