Alejandro Jenkins

Alejandro Jenkins (born 17 October 1979, in San José, Costa Rica) is a Costa Rican theoretical physicist. He is currently a professor at the University of Costa Rica and a member of Costa Rica's National Academy of Sciences.[1] Previously, he was a researcher at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Florida State University (FSU). He has worked on applications of quantum field theory to particle physics and cosmology, as well as on self-oscillating dynamical systems and quantum thermodynamics.[1]

Alejandro Jenkins
Alejandro Jenkins Villalobos

(1979-10-17)17 October 1979
NationalityCosta Rican
Alma materCalifornia Institute of Technology, Harvard University, University of Costa Rica
Scientific career
FieldsTheoretical physics
InstitutionsUniversity of Costa Rica, Florida State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology
ThesisTopics in particle physics and cosmology beyond the standard model (2006)
Doctoral advisorMark B. Wise


Jenkins entered the University of Costa Rica in 1997, studying mathematics. In 2001 he graduated from Harvard University with an A.B. degree in physics and mathematics.[1] He completed his Ph.D. in theoretical physics at Caltech in 2006, working with Mark Wise on "Topics in particle physics and cosmology beyond the Standard Model".[2] Some of the work in Jenkins's doctoral dissertation concerned models of dark energy in cosmology.[3]


Quark mass and congeniality to lifeEdit

The anthropic principleEdit

In physics and cosmology, the anthropic principle is the collective name for several ways of asserting that the observations of the physical Universe must be compatible with the life observed in it. The principle was formulated as a response to a series of observations that the laws of nature and its fundamental physical constants remarkably take on values that are consistent with conditions for life as we know it rather than a set of values that would not be consistent with life as observed on Earth. The anthropic principle states that this apparent coincidence is actually a necessity because living observers would not be able to exist, and hence, observe the universe, were these laws and constants not constituted in this way.[4][5]

Jenkins's contributionsEdit

To test this hypothesis, Robert Jaffe, Jenkins, and Itamar Kimchi used models to "tweak" the values of the quark masses and examined how that would affect the ability of stable isotopes of carbon and hydrogen to form, making organic chemistry possible. They found that, within the various potential universes they examined, many had very different qualities from our own, but that nonetheless life could still develop. In some cases, where forms of carbon we find in our universe were unstable, other forms of stable carbon were identified as possible.[6][7]

The work by Jaffe, Jenkins, and Kimchi on anthropic constraints on quark masses was highlighted by the American Physical Society's Physics magazine.[8] That work, along with research by other theorists on the possibility of an anthropically-allowed "weakless universe", was summarized in Scientific American magazine's January 2010 cover story, which Jenkins co-authored with Israeli particle physicist Gilad Perez.[9] Jenkins also explained his work in a 2015 appearance on the TV show Through the Wormhole.[10]

Self-oscillation and thermodynamicsEdit

Jenkins's review of the physics of self-oscillators was published by Physics Reports in 2013.[11] Jenkins has also collaborated with mathematical physicist Robert Alicki and theoretical chemist David Gelbwaser-Klimovsky on applying related ideas in order to arrive at a better understanding of non-equilibrium thermodynamics, with a particular application to the microscopic physics of solar cells.[12]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Alejandro Jenkins Villalobos, Académico de Número" (in Spanish). Academia Nacional de Ciencias, Costa Rica. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  2. ^ Jenkins, Alejandro (2006). Topics in particle physics and cosmology beyond the Standard Model (Ph.D.). Caltech. arXiv:hep-th/0607239. Bibcode:2006PhDT.......131J.
  3. ^ Hsu, Stephen D. H.; Jenkins, Alejandro; Wise, Mark B. (2004). "Gradient instability for  ". Physics Letters B. 597 (3–4): 270–274. arXiv:astro-ph/0406043. Bibcode:2004PhLB..597..270H. doi:10.1016/j.physletb.2004.07.025.
  4. ^ Jenkins, Alejandro (2009). "Anthropic constraints on fermion masses". Acta Physica Polonica B Proceedings Supplement. 2 (2): 283–288. arXiv:0906.0029. Bibcode:2009arXiv0906.0029J.
  5. ^ Bennett, Charles H. (29 May 2016). "Schopenhauer and the Geometry of Evil". Quantum Frontiers. Institute for Quantum Information and Matter (Caltech). Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  6. ^ Jaffe, Robert L.; Jenkins, Alejandro; Kimchi, Itamar (2009). "Quark Masses: an environmental impact statement". Physical Review D. 79 (6): 065014. arXiv:0809.1647. Bibcode:2009PhRvD..79f5014J. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.79.065014.
  7. ^ Trafton, Anne (22 February 2010). "Life beyond our universe". MIT News. Cambridge, MA. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  8. ^ Perez, Gilad (2009). "Viewpoint: A guided tour through the wild nuclear landscape". Physics. 2: 21. Bibcode:2009PhyOJ...2...21P. doi:10.1103/Physics.2.21.
  9. ^ Jenkins, Alejandro; Perez, Gilad (2010). "Looking for Life in the Multiverse". Scientific American. 302 (1): 42–49. Bibcode:2010SciAm.302a..42J. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0110-42. PMID 20063635.
  10. ^ Freeman, Morgan (host) (23 April 2015). "Are Aliens Inside Us?". Through the Wormhole. Season 6. Episode 1. Science.
  11. ^ Jenkins, Alejandro (2013). "Self-oscillation". Physics Reports. 525 (2): 167–222. arXiv:1109.6640. Bibcode:2013PhR...525..167J. doi:10.1016/j.physrep.2012.10.007.
  12. ^ Alicki, Robert; Gelbwaser-Klimovsky, David; Jenkins, Alejandro (2017). "A thermodynamic cycle for the solar cell". Annals of Physics. 378: 71–87. arXiv:1606.03819. Bibcode:2017AnPhy.378...71A. doi:10.1016/j.aop.2017.01.003. hdl:10669/29417.

External linksEdit