University of Texas
Weinberg Theory Group



Weinberg Theory Group


In 1982 Steven Weinberg moved to the University of Texas at Austin as the Jack S. Josey-Welch Foundation Regents Chair in Science and founded the Theory Group of the University of Texas Physics Department.

“Since its foundation, the Theory Group has had a strong track record of conducting research on a broad range of topics with the goal of exploring the fundamental laws of nature. These topics include the dynamics of the very early universe, the relationship between information and black holes (which may lead to crucial insights into the fundamental theory of gravity), the possible extensions of the Standard Model of particle physics (which describes all known particles and their interactions) and the experimental signatures of such extensions, and the exploration of string theory and formal aspects of quantum field theory. This diversified effort to improve our understanding of nature at the deepest levels is well aligned with the goal of advancing the national interest by maintaining and further boosting the role of the United States as the global leader in theoretical high-energy physics. The Theory Group is also actively committed to making physics accessible to a wider audience and achieving a substantial impact outside of academia. This is achieved through popular lectures given to live audiences as well as over other media, through the publication of books at both the public and technical levels, and through the development of web technologies. In addition, the Theory Group takes pride in the training of graduate students and postdocs who continue on to successful careers in this field.

Timeline for Weinberg Theory Group

1982: Steven Weinberg joined the University of Texas faculty as the Jack S. Josey-Welch Foundation Regents Chair in Science and founded the Theory Group of the University of Texas Physics Department.

1983 Willy Fischler joind the Theory Group, coming from University of Pennsylvania 1979-83. His previous appointments were Los Alamos, 1977-79; CERN 1975-77; and Brussel Univeristy. His PhD was from Brussels U. in 1976. He also did his undergraduate work at Brussels U graduating in 1972.. Research interests: quantum field theory, supersymmetry, string theory, quantum cosmology, and statistical mechanics.

1983 Vadim Kaplunovsky joind the Theory Group, coming from Tel-Aviv University where he had recently received his PhD. His B. Sc. was from Hebrew University in 1978. Research Interests: Supersymmetry String Theory and String Dualities Holographic QCD

In 1991 Sonia Pablan joined the Theory Group as a postdoc. After positions at University of Minnesota, Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques, Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, she was appointed to the UT faculty in 2000. She has held visiting positions at Stanford and at Berkeley Ccenter for theoretical Physics. . She had received her B.S, M.A, and PhD from Barcelona University, the PhD in 1988. Research Interests: Cosmology : Non-gaussianity from excited initial states; Experimental signatures of anisotropic inflation; Searching for slow-roll moduli inflation in massive type IIA supergravity with metric fluxes. de Sitter : Challenges of embedding de Sitter in string theory; Measurement theory in de Sitter space; Evolution of gravitationally unstable de Sitter compactifications. QFT/String Theory : Collective coordinates in string theory; Constraints from extended supersymmetry in the effective action of Yang-Mills theories; Non-commutative quantum field theory at finite temperature; Tunneling in theories with many fields. Phenomenology : Bounds on microscopic physics from P and T violation in atoms and molecules; Constraints on the baryogenesis scale from neutrino masses.

In 2011, Can Kilic joined the Theory Group. He was born in Turkey and obtained a bachelor of science degree in physics at the Bogazici (Bosphorus) University in 2000 and then moved to the US for graduate school. He obtained his PhD at Harvard University under the supervision of Nima Arkani-Hamed in 2006. He held two postdoctoral positions, at the Johns Hopkins University until 2009 and then at Rutgers University until 2011. He was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2017. Research interest: Extensions of the Standard Model of particle physics with an emphasis on experimental signatures. Specifically, he works on model-building, collider physics and dark matter searches.

In 2015?, Richard Matzner joined the Theory Group when the Center for Relativy was closed. Matznert received his PhD from the University of Maryland in 1967.His research interests: General relativity and cosmology; kinetic theory; black hole physics; gravitational radiation; lead PI on the Binary Black Hole Grand Challenge Project.

In 2017, Elena Caceres, joined the Theory Group as Associate Professor. She had earned a PhD at the University of Texas in 1996. Her undergratuate BS was at Universidad Católica del Peru. Other appointments include 2005-2017 Professor, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Colima, Colima, Ḿexico; 2011-2017 Adjunct Professor, Department of Physics, University of Texas at Austin; 2002-2004 Researcher, CINVESTAV, Department of Physics, Mexico City, Mexico; 2002 Visiting Scientist. Department of Physics, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A; 1999-2001 Postdoctoral Fellow, High Energy Section, International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste, Italy; 1996-1999 Postdoctoral Fellow. Department of Physics, University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Interest: String theory, gravity and the relationship between quantum information theory, gravity, and spacetime.

In 2018, Aaron Zimmerman joined the Theory Group. Dr. Zimmerman earned his B.S. in astrophysics from the University of New Mexico and his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology. Before joining UT Austin as a faculty member, he was a postdoctoral fellow and research associate at the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics. Dr. Zimmerman's research focuses on black holes and gravitational waves. As a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, he analyzes gravitational wave signals to infer the properties of the black holes and neutron stars that produce these faint signals. He also studies how black holes emit gravitational waves, using both computer simulations and pen-and-paper approximations.

In 2019, Katherine Freese, theoretical astrophysicist, joins the department as Jeff and Gail Kodosky Endowed Chair in Physics. She is known for her work in theoretical cosmology at the interface of particle physics and astrophysics. Freese received her BA from Princeton University, one of the first women to major in physics at Princeton. She obtained her MA from Columbia University, and her PhD at the University of Chicago from advisor David Schramm. After postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard University, at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at University of California, Santa Barbara, and as a Presidential Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, she became an Assistant Professor at MIT. She moved to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where she was the George E. Uhlenbeck Professor of Physics. From 2007-2014 she was Associate Director of the Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics. In September 2014, she assumed the position of Director of Nordita, the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics, in Stockholm, and held a position as Visiting Professor of Physics at Stockholm University. In 2019, Freese moved to the University of Texas at Austin, where she holds the Jeff and Gail Kodosky Endowed Chair in Physics. In 2020, Professor Freese was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. She is author of the book The Cosmic Cocktail: Three Parts Dark Matter, published in June 2014.

In 2020, Andreas Karch joined the Theory Group. His previous appointments were: 1992-1995: University of Wuerzburg (Germany); 1995-1996: Unviersity of Texas at Austin, MA; 1996-1998: Humboldt University, Berlin (Germany), PhD; 1998-2001: MIT, postdoc; 2001-2002: Harvard University, postdoc; 2002-2020: University of Washington, Seattle, Assistant, Associate and Full Professor. Research interest: Unraveling the dynamics of strongly correlated systems, using tools from string theory, quantum field theory and quantum information.

In 2020, Deirdre Shoemaker joined the Theory Group. She was the Dunn Family Professor of Physics at Georgia Tech. She received her B.S. in Astronomy and Astrophysics and Physics from Penn State in 1994 and her PhD in Physics from the University of Texas at Austin in 1999.  She was a postdoctoral fellow at Penn State and Cornell University before joining the faculty at Penn State in 2004.  She moved to the School of Physics at Georgia Tech in 2008 and wass an adjunct  Professor of the School of Computational Science and Engineering.   She was one of the founding members of the Center for Relativistic Astrophysics  and its Director.   In 2017, Deirdre took on the role of Associate Director for Research and Strategic Initiatives for the Institute for Data Engineering and Science.


Center Secretarial Staff:

Associate Professor, Department of Physics,University of Texas at Austin; .. .


Membergs of Group in 2020: Aaron Zimmerman, Steven Weinberg, Deirdre Shoemaker, Sonia Paban, Richard Matzner, Pablo Laguna, Can Kilic, Andreas Karch, Vadim Kaplunovsky, Katherine Freese, Willy Fischler, Jacques Distler, Elena Caceres, Kimberly Boddy



Weinberg Theory Group

Yuval Ne'eman
Arno Bohm
George Sudarshan
Austin Gleeson
Charles Chiu
Duane Dicus
Jack Ritchie
Karol Lang
Joshua Klein
Jagdish Mehra
Roy Schwitters
Christina Markert
Peter Onyisi
Tim Andeen, Jr.
Michael Simmons
Robert Beck Clark
Helmut Rechenberg
Robert Yaes
Michael Grundzik
Ron Parsons
Arnold Lopez-Cepero
Nilendra G. Deshpande