### Edward Witten

Institute for Advanced Study

#### 2012 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics

For contributions to physics spanning topics such as new applications of topology to physics, non-perturbative duality symmetries, models of particle physics derived from string theory, dark matter detection, and the twistor-string approach to particle scattering amplitudes, as well as numerous applications of quantum field theory to mathematics.

#### The Science

Edward Witten is known for his contributions to the understanding of quantum fields and strings. Among other things, he helped lead the study of dualities — quantum mechanical symmetries that have no analog in classical physics. As one consequence, it became clear that the five traditionally known string theories are limiting cases of a single theory — now sometimes called M-theory — which is a candidate for unifying the laws of nature.

#### Comments

For one who has the passion for science and mathematics, having the opportunity to work in those fields is the best thing one can imagine. I always tell young people that the continents have been explored, but there are still wide-open horizons in science and mathematics.