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Matthew Buican

Dr Matthew Buican

Dr Matthew Buican

Research Fellow

Interests and expertise (Subject groups)

Grants awarded

New Constraints and Phenomena in Quantum Field Theory

Scheme: University Research Fellowship

Organisation: Queen Mary, University of London

Dates: Jan 2016-Dec 2020

Value: £424,856.67

Summary: My research is primarily concerned with studying strongly coupled supersymmetric (SUSY) quantum field theories (QFTs). These theories exhibit a remarkable array of calculable phenomena that are closely related to phenomena occurring in nature: confinement of quarks, dualities between seemingly different theories, emergent symmetries, and much more. In certain regimes---typically at long distances, the "infrared" (IR), and at short distances, the "ultraviolet" (UV)---a supersymmetric QFT often flows to a superconformal field theory (SCFT). Because of their enhanced symmetry, SCFTs obey simpler rules than their non-conformal "siblings." Studying these theories and uncovering the constraints they obey are important goals of my research program. Extrapolating away from criticality to derive constraints on non-conformal theories via the renormalization group (RG) flow is another main goal of my program. My recent work has shed new light on a very mysterious set of SCFTs called Argyres-Douglas (AD) theories. From the perspective of RG flows emanating from UV gauge theories, AD theories are difficult to study because they are characterized by certain emergent symmetries. Nonetheless, in joint work with my collaborators, I have discovered new descriptions for the ways in which AD theories interact with each other as one traverses exotic conformal manifolds, and I have also found the first detailed new spectral information about these theories in many years. Interestingly, I have also been able to show that AD theories are, in some very abstract sense, particularly simple theories. I therefore hope to use these theories as laboratories in which to discover new phenomena and new physical rules in QFT. Moving forward, my research will, broadly speaking, be focused on computing and constraining conformal anomalies, finding new constraints on CFTs, studying and classifying conformal manifolds, and discovering new laws underlying the RG flow.

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