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Paul Kingsley Townsend FRS is a British physicist, currently a Professor of Theoretical Physics in Cambridge University's Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics.[1] He is notable for his work on string theory.[2]



He received his PhD from Brandeis University in 1976[3] for his dissertation The 1/N expansion of scalar field theories OCLC 22736707. Since then he has over 140 publications.[4]


In 1987, Eric Bergshoeff (de), Ergin Sezgin (de) and Paul Townsend showed that there are no superstrings in eleven dimensions (the largest number of dimensions consistent with a single graviton in supergravity theories),[5] but supermembranes.[6]

Awards and honoursEdit

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in May 2000.[7]


  1. ^ "DAMTP>>People>>Professor P.K. Townsend". 
  2. ^ Townsend Home Page at Cambridge
  3. ^ "SPIRES-HEP Search". Stanford University. 
  4. ^ Publications by Paul K Townsend per
  5. ^ This was demonstrated in: Werner Nahm, "Supersymmetries and their representations". Nuclear Physics B 135 no 1 (1978) pp 149-166, doi:10.1016/0550-3213(78)90218-3
  6. ^ E. Bergshoeff, E. Sezgin and P. K. Townsend, "Supermembranes and Eleven-Dimensional Supergravity," Phys. Lett. B 189: 75 (1987).
  7. ^ "Lists of Royal Society Fellows 1660-2007". London: The Royal Society. Archived from the original on March 24, 2010. Retrieved 19 July 2010.