New Centre of Excellence for Geometry and Physics


On 24 January 2024, a centre for geometry and physics was inaugurated at Uppsala University. It is one of the research environments that, in fierce competition, have been awarded grants from the Swedish Research Council's Centre of Excellence initiative for projects with great potential for innovative research. The formation of the centre will strengthen the current collaboration between researchers in the two disciplines, but also constitute a knowledge centre for collaboration and exchange both nationally and internationally.

Portrait photo of Tobias.
Tobias Ekholm, Professor of
Geometry and director of the centre. 
Photo: Mikael Wallerstedt

“Tobias Ekholm, professor of mathematics and director of the centre; how are geometry and physics connected and what knowledge can research at the interface between them provide?”

“Geometry and physics have a long common and well-known history where geometry has a clear role in Galilleo and Newton's classical mechanics and perhaps even more so in Lagrange and Hamilton's variational formulation of analytical mechanics. The Centre for Geometry and Physics explores the interface between geometry and physics, originating in more modern connections between the gauge theories of particle physics and the differential geometry of mathematics, and the superstring theories of physics with their dualities and the symplectic and complex geometries of mathematics. The goal is a better structural understanding of the connection between the disciplines leading to theoretical breakthroughs in both disciplines.”

“Apart from your continued research in the field, what activities will we see in the centre?”

“Within the centre, together with visiting professors and other guests, we will provide focused postgraduate courses on new developments in the field. We will also organise workshops and conferences and hold regular seminars. These will mainly be aimed at specialists in the field but will also include more general presentations aimed at a wider audience.”

Inauguration with popular science lecture by new honorary doctorate holder

Portrait photo of Nikita.
Nikita Nekrasov, new honorary
doctor at Uppsala University
and keynote speaker at the
inauguration of the centre.
Photo: Vlada Krasilnikova/
Nina Mikhailyuk

At the opening of the centre, one of Uppsala University's new honorary doctors, Nikita Nekrasov, a world-leading expert in theoretical and mathematical physics active at the Simons Centre for Geometry and Physics at Stony Brook University in New York, will give a popular science lecture entitled “The Natural Language: Geometry of Physics”.

In his lecture, he will describe this highly theoretical and abstract field by explaining how geometry and physics can be used to understand the evolution of human natural language. The parallel is structure, where all languages are built around structures at different levels and where the main task of mathematics is to understand structures and the task of physics is to describe phenomena at different levels. Words, like matter, can be subject to fusion, fragmentation, growth or decay.

Portrait photo of Maxim.
Maxim Zabzine, Professor of
theoretical physics and one of the
the centre's five PI:s.
Photo: Mikael Wallerstedt

“Maxim Zabzine, you are one of the physics researchers at the centre and host to our new honorary doctor Nikita Nekrasov; what are the potential applications of your basic research?”

“The Centre's research opens doors to fundamental knowledge in mathematics and theoretical physics, giving us tools for a deeper understanding of nature and the universe. Ultimately, it provides opportunities to develop new ideas in quantum field theory, string theory and other areas of theoretical physics and mathematical physics.”

The Swedish Research Council is providing the centre with SEK 6 million per year for five years. After evaluation, the idea is that it will be possible to obtain a further five years of funding.

Read more

The opening event on 24 January 2024

Centre for Geometry and Physics website

Interview with the Director of the Centre Tobias Ekholm

The Centre for Geometry and Physics is one of five excellent research environments at Uppsala University that the Swedish Research Council has funded to form a centre of excellence. Uppsala University news from last summer when the Swedish Research Council's decision on the centres of excellence was made.