Who are young theoretical physicists in India

What is your research important for? What is the connection between your work and experimental particle physics?

My research takes place at the interface between theoretical and experimental physics. Theoretical physicists research mathematical models for elementary particles and their interactions. A successful theory must be consistent with all previous experimental findings and can be tested in new experiments. It is fascinating that theoreticians sometimes predict new particles in order to be able to present a theory in a mathematically correct way. Examples of this are the Top Quark or the Higgs Boson, which existed “on paper” long before they were actually detected.

If a model is internally consistent and widely accepted, it is tested in experiments. The results then flow back into theoretical considerations. In my specific case, this means: I am concerned with particle collisions - in other words, what happens when elementary particles collide in an accelerator like the LHC, which particles are created and how they behave after the collision.


You have not only made a name for yourself as a researcher, but have also been involved in teaching, for example as co-author of the textbook “Scattering Amplitudes in Gauge Theories”. What can the doctoral students of the IMPRS EPP expect from you?

I enjoy discussing physics with undergraduate and graduate students. That is why I regularly give lectures at international doctoral schools. For the doctoral students of the IMPRS, our research group adds a lot of competence from which they can benefit.

I also plan to invite international researchers to the working group for sabbaticals, with which the young scientists can exchange ideas: for example in informal working group seminars or journal clubs where current publications are discussed together. This culture of discussion is essential for the scientific development of doctoral students.


From October 2018 you will be director at the MPI for Physics, but already temporarily at the institute. Why?

I see my “part-time” at the institute as a useful phase of preparation. It gives me the opportunity to get to know the new institute and its administration little by little and to come into contact with my future colleagues. Many new scientists from Argentina, India, Russia and the USA are due to be hired this autumn. It is important to me that the new colleagues immediately feel at home in Munich and can continue their research work straight away. For foreign researchers in particular, effective support from the administration is important, for example, with visa applications or with finding accommodation, and with information about German courses offered at the institute.


You spent several years researching at the IAS in Princeton: What was it that particularly fascinated you about this institution?

The Institute for Advanced Study has had a decisive influence on my academic and personal development. It was a privilege for me to talk to the world's best researchers in my research area every day and to make many new contacts.

The institute was founded at a time when many researchers, especially from Europe, needed a safe haven. The most prominent example is probably Albert Einstein, who spent 22 years there. I think that this spirit has also carried over to science and is in this respect a place where new, perhaps also speculative ideas can be developed. Overall, the openness to new ideas is an aspect of science in the USA that has shaped me.


What are you looking forward to in Munich?

To a lot! For example, I'm looking forward to having the Alps on my doorstep again. On the weekends you will surely be able to find me in one or the other mountain hut.