Ryan Thorngren joins IHES as a junior professor - IHES
Ryan Thorngren IHES

Ryan Thorngren joins IHES as a junior professor

Press release – 15 march 2023

Ryan Thorngren will join the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques (IHES) on April 3rd as a junior professor. This prestigious position is reserved to talented researchers at the early stages of their career and gives them the opportunity to spend five years at the Institute, where they can develop their research autonomously, all the while contributing to the Institute’s scientific activity and to making it an attractive hub for visiting researchers.

Born in Los Angeles, Ryan Thorngren did his undergraduate studies in mathematics at Caltech. He soon developed an interest in physics, which led him to studying applications of topology to quantum field theory at the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned his PhD. Topological phases, at the intersection between mathematics and condensed matter physics, continue to be at the center of his research interests.

After defending his PhD in 2018, Thorngren worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Weizmann Institute of Science, then at the Harvard Center for Mathematical Sciences and Applications (CMSA), and more recently at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, in Santa Barbara.

He will join IHES as a junior professor in April 2023. “I look forward to integrating into the community of IHES and to creating a group with similar interests in topological phases and condensed matter physics. I would like to organize a regular seminar and hire doctoral and postdoctoral researchers”.

Being at the Institute with a five-year position, without any teaching obligation, will also give him the necessary calm and dedicated focus to work on some important projects. He is currently writing a first book about symmetry-protected topological phases, for which there is not yet a unified reference in literature.

As a physicist with a background in mathematics, Ryan Thorngren also looks forward to joining IHES for the special role it played in the history of mathematics having been the home of some legendary figures such as Fields medalists Alexander Grothendieck and René Thom, who first developed cobordism theory, a theory that Ryan Thorngren applies to physics.

When asked about how he sees himself in ten years’ time, Ryan Throngren replied that he hopes to continue his career in research and to lead a research group, passing his knowledge on to the younger generations of students and early stage researchers. His philosophy is to go “where his research questions take him”, driven by the desire to be “where the most exciting things in my research field are happening”.