Two recognized for physics research

2 min read

Two Harvard physicists earlier this week were among several researchers to receive the Physics Frontier Prize from the Milner Foundation.

Andrew Strominger, the Gwill E. York Professor of Physics and Cumrun Vafa, the Donner Professor of Science, were honored for their “numerous deep and groundbreaking contributions to quantum field theory, quantum gravity, string theory and geometry.”

In awarding the prize the Foundation said Strominger and Vafa’s “joint statistical derivation of the Bekenstein-Hawking area-entropy relation unified the laws of thermodynamics with the laws of black hole dynamics and revealed the holographic nature of quantum spacetime.”

“Being involved in basic research is wonderful and exciting,” Strominger said of receiving the prize. “The most fun part of the whole thing is making the discoveries, which in my case always involved many invaluable collaborators to whom I am very grateful. The second best is sharing the discoveries with others. The third best – and still not too shabby – is being publicly recognized with a prize.”

“It is a great pleasure to be selected to receive this recognition for my work, specially by this esteemed group of colleagues,” Vafa said. “I keep in mind that this is not just a recognition of my work, but also of the work of many physicists with whom I have had the great fortune of collaborating.”

Awarded annually in recognition of “transformative achievements in the field of fundamental physics,” the prize is intended to provide winners with the freedom to pursue future research. Winners are also automatically nominated for the Foundation’s highest honor, the Fundamental Physics Prize, which comes with a $3 million award.

The winner of the 2014 Fundamental Physics Prize will be announced on Dec. 12 in San Francisco, along with the winners of the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences.