[MaPhySto logo] [MPS NEWS]
Vol.2, Issue No. 2. December 2003

Funded by The Danish National Research Foundation
John Wheater

Currently visiting the High Energy Theory Group at the Niels Bohr Institute and the Maths Department, Copenhagen.

Tel: 35 32 52 70

Permanent address: Theoretical Physics, 1 Keble Road, Oxford OX1 3NP United Kingdom

History: I was born in 1958 and I grew up in London. I studied Physics as an undergraduate at Oxford University. I also did my doctorate at Oxford supervised by Chris Llewellyn Smith (later to be DG of CERN) on electroweak theory, finishing in 1982. My first permanent position was at Durham University in the north of England and since 1985 I have held a permanent position in Theoretical Physics in Oxford. I?ve just got to graduate student number 20 and am beginning to feel old!

Research: At the moment my two main research interests are

Conformal Field Theory
I am working on systems where the bulk theory has a higher chiral symmetry (called a W symmetry) which can be broken by the boundary conditions. This leads to a much more complicated set of boundary conditions than for simple CFTs which have only the Virasoro symmetry. We are studying a free-field formulation of one particular family of theories. This has the great advantage that explicit computations are possible; the results can be compared with the general and abstract considerations of Fuchs and Schweigert. In fact they considered only models where the decomposition of the W primary field reps into Virasoro reps is abelian, but in the free field formulation we are actually considering non-abelian cases for which there is at the moment no general theory worked out.
Yang-Mills Matrix Theory
Some time ago it was proposed that these give a non-perturbative formulation of the type IIB string theory. This of course leads to the hope that there might be tractable non-perturbative calculations that can be done for the string theory. However it turns out that exact calculations in these models are very difficult. We have been proceeding by obtaining rigorous bounds on various significant quantities (partition functions, polynomial correlation functions, Polyakov lines, and Wilson loops) in these models and using them to establish the general properties. At the moment I am working on the spectral density with Bergfinnur Durhuus of the Maths Department in Copenhagen. The aim is to establish whether this falls into the same class(es) as that for ordinary matrix models or not. Basically this involves an extension of some previous work that I did with Austing on upper bounds for the partition functions and polynomial correlation functions.