Thursday, January 4, 2018
East Bridge 201
Physics Research Conference
The conformal bootstrap: magnets, boiling water, and quantum gravity
David Simmons-Duffin, Assistant Professor of Theoretical Physics, Caltech
Conformal Field Theory (CFT) describes the long-distance limit of quantum and statistical many-body systems. Often, this limit is so complicated that traditional computational tools (like Feynman diagrams) fail. However, powerful new techniques for understanding CFTs have emerged in the last decade, based on the old idea of the "conformal bootstrap". I will describe how the bootstrap lets us calculate critical exponents in the 3d Ising Model to world-record precision, how it explains striking relations between magnets and boiling water, and how it can be applied to questions across theoretical physics.