Project Details


Two-dimensional conformal field theory arose in both condensed matter physics and string theory and is being formulated, constructed and studied mathematically. It is now a deep, rich and beautiful mathematical theory and has already led to new ideas, surprising results and solutions of many mathematical problems in mathematics and physics. On the other hand, various recent developments in different areas of mathematics and physics can be recognized to be related when the language of tensor categories is used as a unifying concept. One example is modular tensor categories which appear naturally in the study of conformal field theories and also in other related algebraic and analytic structures. Further study of the connection between conformal field theories and tensor categories will benefit the developments of both conformal field theory and the theory of tensor categories.Two dimensional conformal field theories and tensor categories are mathematical theories studied intensely in recent years by both mathematicians and physicists. It is believed that many important phenomena observed in nature and in laboratory, such as critical phenomena, quantum Hall effects, disorder phenomena and so on, can be described by these theories. More importantly, a deep understanding of these theories might lead to the development of new technologies, for example, new technology for the design of chips for what people call quantum computers, which, if constructed, are computers running much much faster than the computers we have now. This award provides support for mathematicians and physicists, including graduate students, junior faculty, women and members of underrepresented minority groups, in the United States to attend the workshop ``Conformal field theories and tensor categories'' from June 14 to June 18, 2011, at the Beijing International Center for Mathematical Research in Beijing. The purpose of this workshop is to bring together researchers in the United States, China and other countries working on conformal field theories, tensor categories and related topics to discuss new results, exchange ideas and initiate new collaborations and research projects. In particular, one of the main goals of the workshop is to make a wealth of mathematical results and concepts that are ready to use accessible to a larger part of the theoretical physics community and to find new applications of these results. It is believed that mathematicians and physicists in the United States, China and other countries can all benefit a lot from communicating their results and from initiating new collaborations and research projects.
Effective start/end date5/1/114/30/12


  • National Science Foundation (National Science Foundation (NSF))


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