I study gravity.
Email: roberts@ias.edu
Twitter: @danintheory

Website: www.danintheory.com
(just redirects back here)

Dan Roberts

I am a theoretical physics postdoc in the School of Natural Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ.

Previously, I completed my Ph.D. at the Center for Theoretical Physics at MIT, funded by a Hertz Foundation Fellowship and the NDSEG. Prior to that, I was a Marshall Scholar in the UK. While there, I read for Part III of the Mathematical Tripos at Cambridge and then studied quantum information at Oxford. In a previous life (undergrad), I worked on invisibility cloaks (metamaterials and transformation optics) with David R. Smith.

My name is very common, so I try my best to publish under more parts of my full name Daniel Adam Roberts—which I never go by and which (unfortunately) also happens to be very common.


I’m interested in black holes. I’m also interested in quantum information theory. Luckily, via the gauge/gravity duality or holography, these two subjects are intricately tied together.

Some of my work focuses on what happens when something falls into a black hole (in anti-de Sitter space). The black hole will very quickly scramble (but not destroy) the information. Black holes are thermal systems, and this is actually a manifestation of the well-known butterfly effect. We can try to think about this process in terms of its computational complexity, or we can study it as a distinguishing feature of quantum chaos.

Semi-orthogonally, I’m interested in applying supersymmetry (SUSY) to early universe cosmology; in other words, studying how inflation is embedded in supergravity (SUGRA). The first step is to understand the minimal low-energy degrees of freedom, the goldstone and goldstino, using the effective field theory of inflation.

Fully-orthogonally, I’m also interested in machine learning and AI: my team Pokermon entered and won the 2015 and 2016 MIT Pokerbots tournament. We used a variant of Counterfactual Regret Minimization (CFR) to train our agent to play two- and three-player pot-limited poker. Unrelatedly, they even gave me a patent!


Talks on YouTube

A portrayal of what it might look like to watch my talk on YouTube.


Other Writings