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Djordje Minic
Professor of Physics
Particle & String Theory
Ph.D.: University of Texas at Austin
323 Robeson Hall
(540) 231-8741
FAX: (540) 231-3526


[Virginia Tech Department of Physics]
Course Information
Biographical Data and Research Interests
I was born on April 23, 1964, in former Yugoslavia (present day Serbia). In 1988 I obtained a diploma (a five year degree which includes a thesis) in Electrical Engineering from the University of Belgrade. In 1993 I received my PhD in Physics from the University of Texas at Austin, under Joseph Polchinski, in Steven Weinberg's Theory Group. I did my postdoctoral research at City College, New York, the University of Chicago, the Penn State University and the Caltech-USC Center for Theoretical Physics. In 1990 I met and married Joy Rosenthal (1966-2023), a photographer/educator, and in 1997 I became a US citizen. I joined Virginia Tech (VT) in 2001 (promoted to Associate Professor in 2005) and I have been Professor of Physics at VT since 2014. Since 2001 I have been living in Blacksburg with my beloved wife Joy Rosenthal (also a VT faculty in the School of Visual Arts, until her sudden death on November 7, 2023) and our two children, Esther and David Minic-Rosenthal.

My research is focused on the problem of quantum gravity, and in particular, a non-perturbative formulation of string theory, the only known consistent perturbative theory of quantum gravity and Standard-Model-like matter. Together with Laurent Freidel (Perimeter Institute) and Rob Leigh (Urbana), I have proposed a new formulation of quantum gravity that we call metastring theory (and its limit, the theory of metaparticles), which also represents a reformulation of string theory and sheds new light on the foundations of quantum theory. In this approach quantum gravity can be viewed as ``gravitization'' of the geometry of quantum theory.

I am deeply interested in all conceptual, gravitational, cosmological and particle physics aspects of string theory and quantum gravity. In particular, I have been working on the vacuum energy problem, a new resolution of the dark matter problem, and the non-commutative geometry of the Standard Model of particle physics. String theory originated from efforts to understand the strong interaction, and so I have worked intensely on trying to understand the non-perturbative dynamics of gauge theories, such as quantum chromodynamics (QCD).

Furthermore, I am fascinated with the relationship between quantum field theory and condensed matter and statistical physics. I have applied theoretical methods from string theory and modern quantum field theory to various questions ranging from the spin dual of the Fractional Quantum Hall Effect, high-temperature superconductivity and topological insulators to the problems of turbulence and aging in non-equilibrium statistical physics as well as the physics of the Riemann zeros and the physics of complex adaptive systems.

Also, as an extension of my work on the conceptual issues in string theory and quantum gravity I have become interested in some fundamental questions in quantum foundations.

Finally, I nurture a non-professional interest in the subject of history of physics. Some of my historical and other musings about physics can be found in my popular book ``In search of another miraculous year'' (published in Serbian, Belgrade, 2005).

My research has been supported by the US Department of Energy and the Julian Schwinger Foundation.

Selected Honors and Awards