Joseph Polchinski

University of California, Santa Barbara and Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics

2014 Physics Frontiers Prize in Fundamental Physics

For his contributions in many areas of quantum field theory and string theory. His discovery of D-branes has given new insights into string theory and quantum gravity, with consequences including the AdS/CFT correspondence.


This award recognizes many years of hard work, but it is important also to give credit to the stimulating and supportive environment that made the work possible, both at UC Santa Barbara and in theoretical physics as a whole. I have learned much from my UCSB colleagues, and have gotten valuable feedback from them time and again. I would like to single out in particular Don Marolf, who has made things exciting over the past two years with his collaboration on the black hole Firewall paradox. The unique environment at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics has also been vital, allowing me to exchange ideas with the whole range of leaders in theoretical physics, especially the leading young scientists. In order to share this credit, and build for future success, part of this award will be used to establish a fellowship program for UCSB Physics graduate students, and a research support program for KITP postdocs. Finally, I would like to thank my family, especially my wife Dorothy Chun, for their support through all the years of staring off into space when they tried to talk to me.

Joseph Polchinski

Breakthrough Prize Symposium Talks

Selected Public Talks