About Us

The mission of the Kadanoff Center for Theoretical Physics is to pursue research and education in the forefront of theoretical physics. We are guided by the idea that theoretical physics provides a unified description of physical reality — that diverse physical phenomena are connected to each other and their understanding can be achieved using common methods and goals. Advances in one area often enrich another, due to the common intellectual threads that bind them together. The Center strives to create a research environment which bridges divides between disparate subdisciplines of physics, thereby advancing our understanding of physical phenomena in condensed matter physics, statistical mechanics, high energy physics, astrophysics and contributing to the advancement of mathematics. A major unifying theme of current research emphasizes the role of geometry, topology, and quantum entanglement in the theoretical analysis of physical phenomena.

The Kadanoff Center is part of the Physics Department of the University of Chicago, and serves as a platform for the exchange of ideas between different research groups in the Department.  It hosts faculty, postdoctoral fellows, visitors, and a variety of activities including interactive research seminars and programs at the forefront of research in physics. 

The Center's name honors our colleague Leo P. Kadanoff, a giant in 20th-century theoretical physics and applied mathematics who has contributed widely to research on the properties of matter, the development of urban areas, statistical models of physical systems, and the development of chaos in simple mechanical and fluid systems.  Leo fostered a scientific culture at Chicago that promotes collaboration and a free exchange of ideas across disciplinary boundaries, which we seek to continue through the Center that bears his name. 

We also recognize our intellectual debt to Yoichiro Nambu, another giant in theoretical physics whose ideas about elementary particles and phases of matter are still shaping our thinking.

Leo Kadanoff (left) and Yoichiro Nambu (right)