Ilarion Melnikov's Homepage


A brief little bit about me
I am an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at James Madison University.

My research is in mathematical physics, and my main interests are in quantum field theory and string theory.  My recent work has focused on two-dimensional conformal field theory in its relation to geometry and the landscape of heterotic string vacua. 

I studied at Cornell and at Duke and have been a postodoc at the Enrico Fermi Institute at the University of Chicago, at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (the Albert Einstein Institute), the Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy at Texas A&M, and most recently in the

Department of Mathematics at Harvard.  More information of this sort may be found in my CV.

A brief little bit about strings
String theory is a branch of modern theoretical physics with the broad and ambitious aim of reconciling two indubitable experimental facts:  the remarkable success of general relativity to describe large scale phenomena such as planets, stars, and galaxies, and the success of quantum mechanics, embodied by local quantum field theory, to describe the microscopic dynamics of (seemingly) fundamental particles such as quarks, electrons, and photons.  There are, by now, many sources where one might learn more about string theory; one of my favorite places is the incredibly beautiful introductory chapter of the classic GSW text.  An introduction to some central features of my work may be found here.