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Stephen Hart Shenker (born 1953) is an American theoretical physicist who works on string theory. He is a professor at Stanford University and former director of the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics. His brother Scott Shenker is a computer scientist.

Stephen Shenker
Born 1953[1]
Nationality American
Alma mater Harvard University (B.A.)
Cornell University (Ph.D.)
Known for string theory
phase transitions
Awards MacArthur Fellowship
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Lars Onsager Prize (2010)
National Academy of Sciences
Scientific career
Fields theoretical physics
Institutions Stanford University
Rutgers University
University of Chicago
Doctoral advisor John Kogut
Doctoral students Joanne Cohn
Matthew Kleban



Shenker's contributions to physics include:

  • Basic results on the phase structure of gauge theories (with Eduardo Fradkin)
  • Basic results on two dimensional conformal field theory and its relation to string theory (with Daniel Friedan, Emil Martinec, Zongan Qiu, and others)
  • The nonperturbative formulation of matrix models of low-dimensional string theory, the first nonperturbative definitions of string theory (with Michael R. Douglas)
  • The discovery of distinctively stringy nonperturbative effects in string theory, later understood to be caused by D-branes. These effects play a major role in string dynamics
  • The discovery of Matrix Theory, the first nonperturbative definition of String/M theory in a physical number of dimensions. Matrix Theory (see Matrix string theory) is an example of a gauge/gravity duality and is now understood to be a special case of the AdS/CFT correspondence (with Tom Banks, Willy Fischler and Leonard Susskind)
  • Basic results on the connection between quantum gravity and quantum chaos (with Douglas Stanford, Juan Maldacena and others)

Selected worksEdit


External linksEdit