Fernando Alday has been appointed Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics in the University of Oxford. The Rouse Ball Professorship of Mathematics is one of the senior chairs in the Mathematics Department in Oxford (and also in Cambridge). The two positions were founded in 1927 by a bequest from the mathematician W. W. Rouse Ball. Previous Rouse Ball Professors include Charles Coulson, Philip Candelas (the retiring Rouse Ball and best known for his work on String Theory) and recent Nobel Laureate Roger Penrose. The Rouse Ball Professor in Oxford is a Fellow of Wadham College.
Fernando Alday is an Argentinean Theoretical Physicist and Mathematician. He did his undergraduate at Centro Atomico Bariloche, Argentina, and his DPhil at SISSA, Italy, under the supervision of Edi Gava and Kumar Narain. He joined Oxford in 2010, after doing Postdocs at Utrecht University in the Netherlands and at the Institute for Advanced Study in the US.
Following the tradition of Rouse Ball chairs at Oxford, Fernando is well known for the development of mathematical tools to understand fundamental questions in Quantum Field Theory and Quantum Gravity. Fernando's most important contributions involve surprising dualities among different theories and observables in high energy theoretical physics. One of these dualities relates scattering amplitudes to minimal surfaces/soap bubbles in anti-de-Sitter space, while another, known as the AGT correspondence, relates correlation functions in a two-dimensional theory to the spectrum of four-dimensional gauge theories. More recently, Fernando has been developing mathematical tools to compute string and M-theory amplitudes in curved space-time, a subject still in its infancy.