My name is David Kagan. I am a theoretical physicist at Columbia University with an interest in string theory, quantum field theory, and their application to both mathematics and physics. I’m particularly interested the AdS/CFT correspondence and recent attempts to apply it to both our understanding of the strong force between quarks at high temperature (as observed in the quark-gluon plasma) and also various condensed matter systems (superconductors, quantum hall systems…).
I also lead a seminar as part of Columbia’s Frontiers of Science course. Each semester we explore about four major areas in science (usually some combination of Astronomy, Climate, Geology, Neuroscience, Evolution, Biodiversity, and Physics and Chemistry). This is not a science course, but rather, a course on what science is. Obviously, fully explaining the nature of science is an impossible task. By looking at four varied areas, the students are (hopefully) able to grasp the breadth of scientific inquiry, the variety of methodologies and ideas, and some of the overarching unifying themes that run through all sciences to a greater or lesser extent.