Alexander Markovich Polyakov

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Alexander Markovich Polyakov : biography

27 September 1945 –

Alexander Markovich Polyakov ( born 27 September 1945) is a theoretical physicist, formerly at the Landau Institute in Moscow, at Princeton University.

Honors and awards

Alexander Polyakov was awarded the Lars Onsager prize (together with A. Belavin and A. Zamolodchikov) in 2011, Harvey Prize in 2010, Dirac Medal and the Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics in 1986, the Lorentz Medal in 1994, and the Oskar Klein Medal in 1996. On 20 March 2013, Alexander Polyakov has been announced the recipient of 2013 Fundamental Physics Prize.

He has been elected to the Soviet Academy of Sciences in 1984. Site of RAS and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in 2005.. NAS Section: Physics. ICTP News. 9/5/2005

Important discoveries

He is known for a number of basic contributions to quantum field theory, including work on what is now called the ‘t Hooft-Polyakov monopole in non-Abelian gauge theory, independent from Gerard ‘t Hooft. Polyakov and coauthors discovered the so-called BPST instanton which, in turn, led to the discovery of the vacuum angle in QCD. His paper Infinite conformal symmetry in two-dimensional quantum field theory, with Alexander Belavin, and Alexander Zamolodchikov, from 1984, has classic status. His path integral formulation of string theory had profound and lasting impacts in the conceptual and mathematical understanding of the theory. He also played an important role in elucidating the conceptual framework behind renormalization independent of Kenneth G. Wilson’s Nobel prize winning work. He formulated pioneering ideas in gauge/string duality long before the breakthrough of AdS/CFT using D-branes. Other insightful conjectures that came years or even decades before active work by others include integrability of gauge and string theories and certain ideas about turbulence.

Very early in his career, in a 1964 student work, A. Polyakov suggested (with A. Migdal) a dynamical Higgs mechanism prior to Peter Higgs’ publication. Unfortunately, this paper was rejected by the Editorial Ofiice of JETP, and was released only much later.A. A. Migdal and A. M. Polyakov, , Soviet Physics JETP, July 1966