# Public Lecture: Quantum Theory and Gravity: A Heavenly Marriage?

Professor Hermann Nicolai, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Golm

29.06.2010 at 17:15

**Short Biography**

Hermann Nicolai is an expert in the field of mathematical physics, in particular in the field of quantum field theory and gravitational physics. Central to his work is the unified description of the fundamental interactions in the context of supergravity and superstring theory. His present research concentrates on the infinite-dimensional ``duality-symmetries´´ that arise in these theories. There is some hope that these symmetries contain essential information for a better understanding of string theory and quantum gravity in general. His name is associated with numerous important developments, among them the formulation of the maximally supersymmetric gravity theory, the quantum mechanical description of supersymmetric membranes and its relation to the so called ``M-theory´´, and contributions for a better understanding of the cosmological singularity.

Hermann Nicolai studied physics and mathematics in Karlsruhe where he also got his PhD in 1978. After a period as fellow and staff member at CERN (Geneva) he returned to the university of Karlsruhe as a professor in 1986. Afterwards he held a chair at the university of Hamburg before he finally took over the position as director of the Max-Planck-Institute for gravitational physics (Albert-Einstein-Institute, near Potsdam) in 1997. Since then he became honorary professor at the Humboldt university (Berlin) and the university of Hanover. In 1991 he was awarded the Otto-Klung-Prize for physics.

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