Center for Quantum Mathematics and Physics (QMAP)
QMAP is a new initiative at UC Davis, aimed at fostering a vibrant research environment for addressing foundational questions in modern theoretical and mathematical physics.
At the forefront of fundamental research, the Center hosts an active visitor program, a number of Postdoctoral fellowships, a seminar series, conferences, and public lectures. As such, it is envisioned to be a useful resource for researchers and students, as well as the larger community.
The Center was established in 2015 in conjunction with the hire of five new faculty members under the Faculty Hiring Investment Program (HIP).
The QMAP Vision
Our universe is a fascinating place — the more we understand, the more there is to marvel at. A rich variety of physical phenomena, ranging from the echoes of distant merging black holes to high energy collisions of microscopic particles, can be described with breathtaking precision. This description relies on the two foundational pillars of 20th century theoretical physics: quantum mechanics and general relativity. Both of these beautiful theories are well-tested and in fact important even in everyday life, but they are mutually incompatible — so our 20th century understanding of the world is not just incomplete, but actually inconsistent. The ``Holy Grail’’ of theoretical physics is to develop a consistent theory of quantum gravity unifying these theories. Achieving this goal will transform our understanding of spacetime, matter and the origin and fate of our universe. Progress will require new mathematics which in turn will have impacts in a broad range of scientific disciplines.
Research reconciling mutually contradictory yet independently successful theories catalyzes scientific paradigm shifts. Already string theory — the most promising framework for quantum gravity — has forged connections between nearly every area of theoretical physics and mathematics, with applications ranging from cosmology to electronic materials. Indeed, traditional boundaries between theoretical physics, mathematics and even computer science are not only becoming obsolete, but are a detriment to progress.
At UC Davis we are creating a vibrant center devoted to this exciting adventure. Building on UC Davis’s strong traditions of interdisciplinary work, and the hiring of four stellar new faculty through the Hiring Investment Program, we have formed the Center for Quantum Mathematics and Physics (QMAP). Our collaborative focus is unique among world theoretical physics institutes. QMAP will provide an extraordinary intellectual environment for fundamental physics and mathematics. It will be a resource for researchers in many scientific disciplines through its conferences, group activities, seminars and visitor program. A diverse group of the best post-doctoral researchers and graduate students will be attracted to our center where they will be mentored to emerge as the next leaders, and QMAP will become a favorite destination for the world’s best physicists and mathematicians. We will all share in creating an environment where there is a seamless exchange of ideas between theoretical physics and mathematics. This will allow us to build upon new developments efficiently and tackle the exciting challenges and opportunities that lie before us.
Our scientific vision is embodied by this picture, which represents the wheels-within-wheels of our universe, each layer symbolizing a part of our emerging understanding, as described in more detail in the Science page.
Center for Quantum Mathematics and Physics
University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616 USA