David Schaich, University of Liverpool

David Schaich, University of Liverpool

New Frontiers of Lattice Field Theory.

David Schaich is a theoretical physicist and a newly appointed Lecturer in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Liverpool.  They have previously worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bern, Syracuse University, and the University of Colorado Boulder, after studying at Amherst College and completing a PhD at Boston University.

David’s research addresses the questions of what are the fundamental constituents and fabric of the Universe and how do they interact.  David will use a computational framework known as lattice field theory, applying high-performance supercomputing to predict the behaviour of extremely complicated systems governed by quantum mechanics and special relativity.

David will use the Future Leader Fellowship to develop new frontiers for lattice field theory, pioneering the application of this method in three related areas.

The first frontier is to investigate whether the Higgs boson or the dark matter of the Universe may be composite particles, similar in certain ways to the neutron that arises from the strong nuclear force.  This possibility could explain currently mysterious aspects of these particles.  The predictions from my lattice field theory calculations will be tested by experiments including those at CERN's Large Hadron Collider and future gravitational wave observatories.

The second frontier will use lattice calculations to test the conjecture that certain quantum gravitational systems behave equivalently to field theories that possess a property known as supersymmetry.  If this so-called "holographic duality" passes these tests, David’s results will provide new insights into aspects of quantum gravity.

Finally, David will address an issue known as the sign problem, which obstructs lattice investigations of many different physical systems from neutron stars to superconductors.  The sign problem arises when the algorithms used by numerical lattice computations encounter negative numbers where they expect probabilities (between 0% and 100%).  In particular, David will work with the growing quantum computing industry in the UK to apply this key emerging technology to solve such sign problems, by approaching lattice field theory from a radically different direction.

David’s Future Leader Fellowship will be crucial to enable this ambitious programme of work, especially the high-risk/high-reward interdisciplinary research that would be challenging to fit into more traditional funding schemes.  Success will see the establishment of new areas for lattice field theory to address key scientific challenges and advance our understanding of the Universe.