This collaborative award funds the research activities of Professors V.P. Nair and Alexios Polychronakos at the City College of the City University of New York and Professor Daniel Kabat at Lehman College of the City University of New York.

Gauge theories describe the interactions of all elementary particles. One particular gauge theory, known as Quantum Chromodynamics, describes the interactions of quarks and gluons. These are the elementary particles inside nuclei, which can bind to form nuclei as well as other yet-to-be-detected particles such as glueballs. While the interaction of quarks and gluons at very high energies is fairly well understood, a detailed understanding of how quarks and gluons bind together to form nuclei and glueballs, and why isolated quarks cannot exist ("quark confinement"), is far from complete. This research project will contribute in this direction by building on previously introduced techniques within the simpler context of gauge theories with two space dimensions. This research project will also develop new techniques for calculating the Casimir force, which arises from quantum fluctuations of the electromagnetic field and which is central to many techniques in nanomechanics. Finally, on another front, Professors Nair and Polychronakos will continue their work on statistical distributions of random matrices, with implications for a variety of questions from condensed-matter physics to quantum gravity. New physically observable quantities will be analyzed and their implications for quantum gravity will be explored.

This project will have significant broader impacts. Professors Kabat, Nair, and Polychronakos will involve undergraduate and graduate students as well as postdoctoral researchers in their work, thereby providing critical training to these junior physicists. The project will also play an important role in fostering continuing collaboration between City College and Lehman College. Maintaining a joint research program has had a positive impact on attracting students to these research areas. Given the demographics of the two colleges, this has been particularly true for students from minority and under-represented groups.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Physics (PHY)
Standard Grant (Standard)
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Keith Dienes
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Research Foundation of the City University of New York (Lehman)
United States
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