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School of Theoretical Physics

The School of Theoretical Physics is one of three constituent schools of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies devoted to original research into the mathematical principles of physics.

The School stands in the tradition established by its first Director, Erwin Schrödinger: to develop our basic understanding of fundamental physics and its mathematical underpinnings.  This endeavour touches on a broad range of topics and addresses the central questions of contemporary physics, from exploring the emergence of new phases of matter in superconducting materials to understanding the quantum nature of space-time itself.

Below is an outline of the School’s current research interests, arranged into three broad and overlapping categories:


Quantum Field Theory
·      Conformal Field Theory
·      Path Integrals
·      Supersymmetry
·      Fuzzy Geometry
·      Dualities

Gravity and Cosmology:
·      Black Holes
·      String/M-Theory and Supergravity
·      Matrix Models
·      Gauge/Gravity Duality
·      Causal Set Theory

Condensed Matter Theory
·      Quantum Information and Computation
·      Topological Insulators and Superconductors
·      Lattice Spin Systems
·      Phase Transitions
·      Tensor Networks and Density Matrix Renormalisation Group

Although spanning a vast range of scales, from the Planck length to that of the observable universe, and covering topics ranging from the properties of graphene to those of black holes, it is often the case that these diverse subjects are interconnected by common principles and mathematics, which can be used to glean unexpected insights and relations. For example, the study of how information is processed in quantum systems is crucial not only to the development of quantum computers, but also informs our understanding of black holes and the challenges they present for the frontiers of modern physics.

The School is also dedicated to communicating both the history and latest advances of fundamental physics to the public, sharing the excitement of basic science with all. The School hosts regular pubic lectures and short courses to inspire, encourage and enable the next generation of young scientists.