Alexander M. Polyakov
Born (1945-09-27) 27 September 1945 (age 78)
Alma materMoscow Institute of Physics and Technology
Known for't Hooft–Polyakov monopole
BPST instanton
Polyakov action
Conformal bootstrap
Belavin–Polyakov–Zamolodchikov equations
Liouville field theory
AdS/CFT correspondence
Polyakov loop
Higgs mechanism
Higher-spin theory
Polyakov formula
AwardsMax Planck Medal (2021)
Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics (2013)
Lars Onsager Prize (2011)
Harvey Prize (2010)
Pomeranchuk Prize (2004)
Oskar Klein Medal (1996)
Lorentz Medal (1994)
Dannie Heineman Prize (1986)
Dirac Medal of the ICTP (1986)
Scientific career
FieldsTheoretical high energy physics
InstitutionsPrinceton University
Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics
Doctoral advisorKaren Ter-Martirosian

Alexander Markovich Polyakov (Russian: Алекса́ндр Ма́ркович Поляко́в; born 27 September 1945) is a Russian theoretical physicist, formerly at the Landau Institute in Moscow and, since 1989, at Princeton University, where he is the Joseph Henry Professor of Physics Emeritus.[1][2]

Important discoveries

Polyakov is known for a number of fundamental contributions to quantum field theory, including work on what is now called the 't Hooft–Polyakov monopole in non-Abelian gauge theory, independent from Gerard 't Hooft. Polyakov and coauthors discovered the so-called BPST instanton which, in turn, led to the discovery of the vacuum angle in QCD.[3][4] His path integral formulation of string theory[5] had profound and lasting impacts on the conceptual and mathematical understanding of the theory. His paper "Infinite conformal symmetry in two-dimensional quantum field theory"[6] written with Alexander Belavin and Alexander Zamolodchikov laid down the foundations of two-dimensional conformal field theory and has classic status.[1] Polyakov also played an important role in elucidating the conceptual framework behind renormalization independent of Kenneth G. Wilson's Nobel Prize–winning work. He formulated pioneering ideas in gauge/string duality long before the breakthrough of AdS/CFT using D-branes. Other insightful conjectures that came years or even decades before active work by others include integrability of gauge and string theories and certain ideas about turbulence.

Very early in his career, in a 1965 student work, Polyakov suggested (with Alexander Migdal) a dynamical Higgs mechanism, slightly after but independently[7] from the publications of Peter Higgs and others. The paper was delayed by the Editorial Office of JETP, and was published only in 1966.[8]

Honors and awards

Alexander Polyakov was awarded the Dirac Medal of the ICTP and the Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics in 1986, the Lorentz Medal in 1994, the Oskar Klein Medal in 1996, the Harvey Prize in 2010, the Lars Onsager Prize (together with A. Belavin and A. Zamolodchikov) in 2011 and the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics in 2013. On 19 November 2020 the German Physical Society announced it would award Alexander Polyakov the 2021 Max Planck Medal.

Polyakov was elected to the Soviet Academy of Sciences in 1984,[9] to the French Academy of Sciences in 1998[10] and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in 2005.[11] [12]

Political positions

In February-March 2022, he signed an open letter by Russian scientists condemning the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine,[13] and another open letter by Breakthrough Prize laureates with the same message.[14]

Famous quotes

The garbage of the past often becomes the treasure of the present (and vice versa).[15]

There are no tables for path integrals.” (quoted in [16])

I wanted to learn about elementary particles by studying boiling water.[17] (paraphrased in [18])

See also


  1. ^ a b "Princeton celebrates Polyakov's 60th". CERN Courier (Mar 1): 2. 2006. Archived from the original on 2011-07-09. Retrieved 2007-09-22.
  2. ^ "Alexander Polyakov | Department of Physics".
  3. ^ Belavin AA; Polyakov AM; Schwartz AS; Tyupkin YS (1975). "Pseudoparticle solutions of the Yang-Mills equations". Phys. Lett. B. 59 (1): 85–7. Bibcode:1975PhLB...59...85B. doi:10.1016/0370-2693(75)90163-X.
  4. ^ Polyakov AM (1977). "Quark confinement and topology of gauge theories". Nucl. Phys. B. 120 (3): 429–58. Bibcode:1977NuPhB.120..429P. doi:10.1016/0550-3213(77)90086-4.
  5. ^ Polyakov AM (1981). "Quantum geometry of bosonic strings". Phys. Lett. B. 103 (3): 207–10. Bibcode:1981PhLB..103..207P. doi:10.1016/0370-2693(81)90743-7.
  6. ^ Belavin AA; Polyakov AM; Zamolodchikov AB (1984). "Infinite conformal symmetry in two-dimensional quantum field theory". Nucl. Phys. B. 241 (2): 333–80. Bibcode:1984NuPhB.241..333B. doi:10.1016/0550-3213(84)90052-X.
  7. ^ Polyakov, A (1992). "A View from the Island". arXiv:hep-th/9211140.
  8. ^ A. A. Migdal and A. M. Polyakov, "Spontaneous Breakdown of Strong Interaction Symmetry and Absence of Massless Particles" Archived 2013-12-03 at the Wayback Machine, Soviet Physics JETP, July 1966
  9. ^ Alexander M. Polyakov. Site of RAS
  10. ^ Alexander Polyakov. Académie des sciences
  11. ^ Polyakov, Alexandre. NAS Section: Physics
  12. ^ Dirac Medalist Elected to NAS Archived 2007-08-16 at the Wayback Machine. ICTP News. 9/5/2005
  13. ^ "Открытое письмо российских учёных и научных журналистов против войны с Украиной" [An open letter from Russian scientists and scientific journalist against the war in Ukraine] (in Russian). 24 February 2022. Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  14. ^ An open letter from Breakthrough Prize laureates
  15. ^ Polyakov, Alexander (1987). Gauge Fields and Strings. London, UK: Harwood Academic Publishers. ISBN 978-3-7186-0393-0.
  16. ^ Auerbach, Assa (1994). Interacting Electrons and Quantum Magnetism. New York: Springer. ISBN 978-0-387-94286-5.
  17. ^ Polyakov, Alexander (2003). "Interview with Alexander Polyakov". Dibner Institute for the history of science and technology. Retrieved 2019-10-16.
  18. ^ Rychkov, Slava (2019). "IPhT's theoretical physics courses: lorentzian methods in conformal field theory". Institut de physique théorique - IPhT Saclay. Retrieved 2019-10-16.