Cumrun Vafa is the Hollis Professor of Mathematicks and Natural Philosophy in the Physics Department at Harvard University. Born in Iran in 1960, he moved to the USA to study at MIT and later Princeton University, where he received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics. He has made several contributions to string theory: he is one of the founders of the duality revolution; he developed F-theory, which connects the “string landscape” to particle physics; and he initiated the “swampland” project. Among his awards, he received the 2017 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics and the 2008 Dirac Medal of ICTP. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences as well as the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
For more than a decade, string theorists have been trying to distinguish good models from so-called “swampland” models that are inconsistent with gravity. This sorting effort has led to testable predictions about dark energy. Read More »