A brief little bit about me
I am an assistant professor in the Department of
Physics and Astronomy at James
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
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
Mathematics at Harvard.
More information of this sort may be found in my CV.
A brief little bit about
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.
- the best way to reach me is by email: the invocation is
melnikix at JMU dot EDU .
- my office is 2154 in the Physics and Chemistry Building.
- my office telephone number is 540 568 5141 .
- the day-to-day life
- current research interests
- quantum field theory in two dimensions
- supersymmetric sigma models
- worldsheet-exact results in heterotic compactifications
(massless spectra, Yukawa couplings, etc)
- stringy geometry: resolution of singularities in
geometry and conformal field theory, extensions of mirror
- superconformal field theory, conformal
perturbation theory, and moduli space geometry
- some future research
directions and exciting questions
- most of my papers are on SPIRES
; a few more from my younger days are listed in the CV
- here are some representation
theory lecture notes from a course at A&M in the
spring of 2014.
- I am writing, seemingly forever, a Springer Lecture
Notes in Physics volume on (0,2) Quantum Field
Theory. A preliminary version may be found here. I will be updating
this as the thing progresses.
- conferences, past and future
- I co-organized several workshops on (0,2)
theories. These were lots of fun and led to new
collaborations and discussions. Here you can find a
little bit about them:
is a nice list of stringy conferences maintained by Stefan
- Here are a few sets of slides of talks I have given in
last few years
- friendly collaborators
I have been very lucky to work with many wonderful
people over the years. I learned lots of string theory
and geometry from Paul
Morrison, and Ronen Plesser,
as well as my fellow grads at Duke, Carina Curto
and Sven Rinke; there I also had a chance to meet Anda
Degeratu, who has cleared up much geometric confusion
over the years, as well as Eric Sharpe -
a constant source of many fun discussions, questions, and
answers. At Chicago I had the opportunity to work with Emil Martinec,
Halmagyi, Sav Sethi,
and especially with Jock
McOrist . During my time at AEI I had the pleasure
of working with Ruben
Minasian and Stefan Theisen.
At A&M I really enjoyed working with Andy Royston.
- I am living in Harrisonburg, VA together with Adrienne, our
daughter Athena, and cat Hamlet. When feeling
adventurous, Adrienne and I used to undertake various hiking
expeditions. Now that we are in the proximity of
nature, we are trying to return to these adventures.
Of course Athena provides plenty of adventure
opportunities in our very home.
- When not overwhelmed by indolence, I like to bike, run,