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**Juan Martín Maldacena**, Institute for Advanced
Study, Princeton

**Joseph Polchinski**, Kavli Institute for
Theoretical Physics, University of California at Santa
Barbara

and

**Cumrun Vafa**, Harvard University

Professors Maldacena, Polchinski and Vafa are being honored for
their fundamental contributions to superstring theory. Their
studies range from early work on orbifold compactifications,
physics and mathematics of mirror symmetry, D-branes and black hole
physics, as well as gauge theory-gravity correspondence. Their
contributions in uncovering the strong-weak dualities between
seemingly different string theories have enabled us to learn about
regimes of quantum field theory which are not accessible to
perturbative analysis. These profound achievements have helped us
to address outstanding questions like confinement of quarks and QCD
mass spectrum from a new perspective and have found applications in
practical calculations in the fluid dynamics of quark gluon
plasma.

The dualities have also led string theorists to conjecture that
the five different superstring theories in ten space-time
dimensions are manifestations of one underlying theory, yet
undiscovered, which has been named the M-theory.

Programme of the ceremony, 26 March 2009

**Cumrun Vafa:**
Programme of the ceremony, 19 June
2009

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ICTP is governed by UNESCO, IAEA, and Italy, and it is a UNESCO Category 1 Institute

ICTP is governed by UNESCO, IAEA, and Italy, and it is a UNESCO Category 1 Institute