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Mathematician Seeks to Bring Quantum Field Theory into Mainstream Math

Mathematician Seeks to Bring Quantum Field Theory into Mainstream Math

Quantum field theory, a framework for explaining how subatomic particles behave, among other things, is one of the most successful areas of physics, but it's still incomplete — it's poorly described in terms of mathematics, so neither physicists nor mathematicians know what defines a quantum field theory. David Ben-Zvi, a mathematics professor at the University of Texas at Austin, described his intent to help solve this problem in a recent WIRED article.

Ben-Zvi hopes to take the ideas, objects and techniques that physicists use to study particle physics and bring them into the mainstream of mathematics.

If mathematicians are successful in outlining the full space of possibilities for quantum field theories, physicists could use their work to develop theories that explain the physical questions they are eager to solve. The possible ramifications of such a development also hold great promise for math.

"I like to say the physicists don't necessarily know everything, but the physics does," Ben-Zvi said in the WIRED article. "If you ask it the right questions, it already has the phenomena mathematicians are looking for."


Read more: The Mystery at the Heart of Physics—That Only Math Can Solve, WIRED

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Monday, 29 November 2021

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