Our understanding of the fundamental laws of nature is based on principles that contradict each other. To describe gravitation and physics at large distances we use general relativity. This is a classical theory. The predictions of general relativity have been confirmed in all observations and experiments to date. General relativity has important astrophysical implications. However, classical physics predicts that matter is unstable. To describe subatomic particles and forces (electromagnetism, the weak, and the strong forces) we use a different set of rules based on quantum field theory. In our quest for the fundamental laws of nature, we are led to wonder how to construct a theory of quantum gravity, a theory that reconciles gravity with quantum physics. Prof. K. Becker works on string theory. This is a quantum theory that predicts gravitation instead of contradicting it and it could be the unified theory of nature. It is a fascinating and unique framework. Some of the simplest string theories give rise to the known forces and patterns of elementary particles (chiral gauge couplings and replication as families or generations). Prof. K. Becker has co-authored some widely cited papers on supersymmetric cycles and flux compactifications in string theory. Currently, she works in perturbative string theory. She is a co-author (together with M. Becker and J. H. Schwarz) of a textbook on string theory published by Cambridge University Press.
Katrin Becker, Daniel Butter, William D. Linch, and Anindya Sengupta. “Components of eleven-dimensional supergravity with four off-shell supersymmetries.” Journal of High Energy Physics, 2021(7), Jul 2021.
Katrin Becker, Melanie Becker, William D. Linch, Stephen Randall, and Daniel Robbins. “All Chern-Simons invariants of 4D, N = 1 gauged superform hierarchies.” Journal of High Energy Physics, 2017(4), Apr 2017.
Awards & Recognition
- Bush Excellence Award for Faculty in International Research (2017)
- Member of the Institute for Advanced Study (2011)
- Radcliffe Fellowship (Harvard University, 2005)
- Alfred Sloan Research Fellowship (2003)