2017 New Horizons Prize in Fundamental Physics
For imaginative joint work on higher spin gravity and its holographic connection to a new soluble field theory.
I was lucky to have a number of great teachers and mentors that have shaped me as a scientist. I am especially grateful to my undergraduate advisor, Fiorenzo Bastianelli, for introducing me to the wonders of theoretical physics, and to my Ph.D. advisor, Martin Rocek, for his constant support and for encouraging me to follow my own inclinations and develop my independence as a researcher. I am indebted to all the wonderful colleagues and collaborators that have shared with me their vision and passion for science over the years. I am particularly grateful to Xi Yin, with whom I share this prize – it has been inspiring and a great fortune to work with him on a series of exciting projects; and to Igor Klebanov, not only for the many fruitful collaborations, but also for his support and precious advice on all aspects of academic life. I am deeply thankful to all of the institutions that have been my "homes" over the years - Stony Brook University, Harvard, Perimeter Institute and Princeton University - I thank them for believing in my potential and for providing an ideal environment to carry out my research. Finally, the greatest thank you goes to my family, in particular to my loving wife and daughter, and to my parents, for their endless support at all stages of my academic journey and life.