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Salam Distinguished Lectures 2019

Juan Maldacena is this year's featured speaker

Salam Distinguished Lectures 2019
Salam Distinguished Lectures 2019


ICTP is pleased to announce that physicist Juan Maldacena of the Institute for Advanced Study will deliver the centre's 2019 Salam Distinguished Lectures. The talks will take place from 28 to 30 January 2019 at ICTP.

The lecture series is an annual presentation of talks by renowned, active scientists. The aim is to showcase important research developments as well as provide a visionary forward view. It is supported by the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences.

Maldacena, whose work focuses on quantum gravity, string theory and quantum field theory, will lecture on the following topics:

  • Quantum mechanics and the geometry of spacetime: Black holes are fascinating objects which pose interesting puzzles for quantum physics. Studying these puzzles, we are led to quantum mechanical models that describe special black holes as seen from the outside. Extrapolating from these descriptions we are led to the idea that entanglement can create geometric connections or wormholes. Moreover, quantum teleportation can be interpreted as travelling through the wormhole.
  • Toy models for black holes: Maldacena will review the Sachdev Ye Kitaev model and describe how it shares some features with nearly extremal black holes. He will also describe the dynamics of nearly extremal black holes. He will go over different physical phenomena, including chaos, quantum teleportation, etc., and their common manifestation in these two systems. A second talk on this topic will cover more technical aspects.

All lectures will take place in ICTP's Budinich Lecture Hall. The first two, on 28 and 29 January, start at 16:30, while the last one, on 30 January, starts at 11:00. All will be livestreamed from the ICTP website at All lectures can be found after streaming at our YouTube page.

Maldacena has made a major contribution to our understanding of the quantum physics of black holes. In 1997, he was the first to propose a fundamental relationship between the two most important theories in modern physics: quantum field theory and quantum gravity. His work also extends into other branches of theoretical physics. For example, in 2003 he proved that cosmic background radiation must contain a very specific signature that supports the inflationary models of the creation of the universe.

Maldacena has received numerous national and international awards for his work, including the Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics, ICTP's Dirac Medal, and the Milner Foundation Fundamental Physics Prize. He is a member of a number of academic societies including the National Academy of Sciences and The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), and serves on ICTP's Scientific Council.