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2017 CAP_CRM Prize Recipient

CRM > Prizes > CAP-CRM Prize > Recipients >Ariel Zhitnitsky

2018 CAP-CRM Prize winner Ariel Zhitnitsky (UBC) [ français ]

zhitnitsky2018 CAP-CRM Prize in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics

SPEAKER(S) : Ariel Zhitnitsky University of British Columbia

Vacuum Energy of the Universe and nontrivial topological sectors in Quantum Field Theory

Conference slideshow

Conference video

ABSTRACT : I discuss a new scenario for early cosmology when the inflationary de Sitter phase emerges dynamically. This genuine quantum effect occurs as a result of dynamics of the topologically nontrivial sectors in a strongly coupled non-abelian gauge theory in an expanding universe. I argue that the key element for this idea to work is the presence of nontrivial holonomy in strongly coupled gauge theories. The effect is global in nature, non-analytical in coupling constant, and cannot be formulated in terms of a gradient expansion in an effective local field theory. I explain the basic ideas of this framework using a simplified 2D quantum field theory where precise computations can be carried out in theoretically controllable way. I move on to generalize the computations to 4D non-abelian gauge field theories. The last (and most important for cosmological applications) part of my talk is based on recent paper [arXiv:1709.09671].

PLACE : CRM, UdeM, Pav. André-Aisenstadt, 2920, ch. de la Tour, room 1140

DATE : Friday, October 19, 2018

TIME : 4:00 p.m.

A reception will follow at Salon Maurice-L’Abbé (Room 6245).

"It is a great honour to join the list of previous winners, given that every single name is associated with extraordinary achievements. This is especially true for the UBC Physics Department with 5 (now 6) members listed: Bill Unruh, Ian Affleck, Gordon Semenoff, Matt Choptuik, Mark Raamsdonk."

The Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) and the Centre de recherches mathématiques (CRM) are pleased to announce that the 2018 CAP-CRM Prize in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics is awarded to Ariel Zhitnitsky, University of British Columbia, for his ground-breaking contributions to theoretical high energy physics, in particular for his development of the "invisible axion" model, and for his work on the vacuum structure of non-Abelian gauge theories..

Ariel Zhitnitsky is a Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UBC. He has made several highly innovative contributions to theoretical physics. One of Eric’s most influential ideas was published shortly after he finished his PhD, when he proposed that the Strong CP problem in the Standard Model could be resolved by a nearly invisible axion.

This paper has over 1000 citations and has influenced experimental searches, and the proposed axions are a candidate for cosmological cold dark matter. Another influential work was accomplished with V. Chernyak, providing a set of wavefunctions that allow computation of exclusive amplitudes at high energies, such as form-factors or two-particle decays of heavy mesons. A series of papers with D. Son analysed anomalous topological non-dissipating currents in dense matter using an effective Lagrangian approach. Zhitnitsky later investigated the roles of these topological currents in neutron stars as a model for kicks and superconductivity. With D. Kharzeev, he further used these results to explain the CP-odd asymmetries observed at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, and proposed that the bulk of dark matter is anti-baryonic so that the Universe as a whole could be baryon-symmetric. Prof. Zhitnitsky has made key contributions to our understanding of the QCD phase transition, hadron physics, dark matter, QCD axions and neutron stars.

The annual CAP-CRM Prize in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics was first introduced in 1995.

Prof. Zhitnitsky will be presented with his medal at a Medallists' Recognition Banquet in Halifax on Wednesday, June 13, 2018. The Banquet is one of the featured events of the CAP Congress hosted by Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, from June 10-14. Please refer to the Congress outline for the schedule of plenary talks by the CAP medal winners.

ABOUT the Centre de recherches mathématiques (CRM)

The Centre de recherches mathématiques (CRM), based in Montreal, is an internationally recognized institute for research in the mathematical sciences. The CRM has research groups in 13 areas that bring together hundreds of researchers. Every year, thousands of researchers from around the world visit the CRM to participate in its thematic programmes and other research, education, outreach, innovation and knowledge transfer activities.

ABOUT the Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP)

The Canadian Association of Physicists, founded in 1945, is a professional association representing over 1600 individual physicists and physics students in Canada, the U.S. and overseas, as well as a number of Corporate, Institutional, and Departmental Members. In addition to its learned activities, the CAP, through its charitable arm - the CAP Foundation, also undertakes a number of activities intended to encourage students to pursue a career in physics.


For more information, please contact:

Canadian Association of Physicists
Tel: 613-562-5614
Fax: 613-562-5615
E-mail: cap@uottawa.ca

Centre de recherches mathématiques
Tel: 514-343-7501
Fax: 514-343-2254

Prix - Menu
The CRM created and administers, either alone or jointly, four of the eight major national prizes in the mathematical sciences, namely:  the CRM–Fields–PIMS Prize,  the Prize for Theoretical Physics awarded in collaboration with the Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP), the Prize for young researchers in Statistics awarded jointly with the Statistical Society of Canada (SSC), and the CRM Aisenstadt Prize awarded to rising young Canadian stars, selected by CRM's Scientific Advisory Panel. The CRM has invested enormously in time, effort and in its own resources, to propel leading Canadian scientists into the spotlight, giving them international recognition when they most need it. 

CRM–Fields–PIMS Prize