Professor of Mathematics and Physics
Research Area(s): Particle Physics
Mina Aganagic received her BS (1995) and PhD (1999) degrees from California Institute of Technology. From 1999-2003 she had a postdoctoral appointment at Harvard University. She was an Assistant Professor of Physics and an Adjunct Professor of Mathematics at the University of Washington, Seattle from 2003-4. In 2004 she was appointed Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Physics at the University of California Berkeley. She was promoted to an Associate Professor in 2008, and to Professor in 2012.
Awards and Honors
Simons Investigator, Simons Foundation, 2016-20
Fellow, American Physical Society, 2016
Miller Research Professorship, 2016-17
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, 2004
Outstanding Junior Investigator, Department of Energy, 2003
I am a string theorist, working at the intersection of mathematics and physics.
The relationship between the two fields has a long history. Going back to Newton, mathematics is used to describe Nature, while physics brings mathematics to life -- providing inspiration and interpretation for many mathematical results.
String theory brings a new ingredient to the table -- phenomenon of duality. To describe a quantum system, we often start with a classical system and then calculate the effect of quantum fluctuations, treating them as small. Duality is the relation between two equivalent descriptions of the same quantum physics in different classical terms. In string theory, dualities turn out to be pervasive.
I work on extracting physical and mathematical predictions of dualities. Sharp mathematical tests of dualities help us understand quantum physics better. Dualities can lead to striking relations between problems in different ares of mathematics: solution to a very hard mathematical problem in one description of physics can be obtained by solving an easy problem in another description.
One example of duality, discovered in the '90s, is mirror symmetry. There are many others. Exploration of string theory dualities and their physical and mathematical implications has only just begun.
Selected Invited Lectures
Distinguished Lecture Series, UCLA, Department of Mathematics, 2020
Bott Lectures, Harvard University, Department of Mathematics, 2019
Alfred T. Brauer Lectures, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Department of Mathematics, 2018
String-Math Conference, Sendai, Japan, 2018
McGill University, Physics Department Colloquium, 2017
University of Michigan, AnnArbour, Mathematics Departmen Colloquium, 2017
Keynote Speaker, Simons Foundation Annual Meeting, 2016
USC Mathematics Department Colloquium, 2016
Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics, Colloquium, 2016
Strings Conference, Beijing, 2016
String-Math Conference, Paris, 2016
Joint Mathematics Colloquium, Brandeis-Harvard-MIT-Northeastern, 2015
Colloquium, Simons Center for Geometry and Physics, 2015
Joint Mathematics Meetings, Current Events Bulletin Lecture, San Antonio, 2015
Physics Department Colloquium, California Institute of Technology, 2014
Physics Department Colloquium, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2013
String-Math Conference, SCGP, Stony Brook, 2013
Strings Conference, Munich, Germany, 2012
String-Math Conference, UPenn, Philadelphia, 2011
Recent Conferences Organized
M. Aganagic, E. Frenkel and A. Okounkov, ”Quantum q-Langlands Correspondence,” arXiv:1701.03146.
M. Aganagic and N. Haouzi, "ADE Little String Theory on a Riemann Surface (and Triality),'' arXiv:1506.04183.
M. Aganagic and C. Vafa, "Large N Duality, Mirror Symmetry, and a Q-deformed A-polynomial for Knots,'' arXiv:1204.4709.
M. Aganagic and S. Shakirov, ``Knot Homology and Refined Chern-Simons Index,'' arXiv:1105.5117.
M. Aganagic, A. Klemm, M. Marino and C. Vafa, ``The Topological vertex,'' hep-th/0305132.
M. Aganagic and C. Vafa, ``Mirror symmetry, D-branes and counting holomorphic discs,'' hep-th/0012041.