Mathematical physics “is supposed to be a blend of mathematics and physics at the highest possible level,” noted Gregg Zuckerman, Professor of Mathematics.

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, figures such as Issac Newton, Daniel Bernoulli, and Leonhard Euler began developing and utilizing new forms of mathematics to examine fundamental questions in physics. Their cumulative success revolutionized the field of mathematical physics and made it a fundamental tool in the development of a variety of fields in the physical sciences.

For instance, it would be almost impossible to make advances in quantum mechanics, superstring theory, or fluid dynamics without mathematical physics. Furthermore, mathematical physics is utilized in many modern technologies, such as in global positioning systems (GPS).

In addition, as biology, physics, and mathematics become more interrelated, mathematical physics is becoming central to the study of life. For example, Zuckerman is currently using mathematical physics to model neural networks, a circuit of biological neurons.

Therefore, given the multitude of applications of mathematical physics, a recent conference was held at Yale’s West Campus to gather leading group theorists and mathematical physicists to share their latest research findings. A sampling of papers presented includes, “Vertex Operator Algebras and Semi-Infinite Cohomology” and “A Siegel-Wiel Theorem for Loop Groups.”

The symposium, which was arranged by Zuckerman’s graduate students at Yale, sought to celebrate Gregg Zuckerman’s sixtieth birthday as well as honor his achievements in mathematics, most notably his work with Lie groups.