Jan Plefka

Stages of scientific work

  • since 2011    Full professor (W3), Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
  • 2018   Scientific Associate, CERN
  • 2014   Guest professor, ETH Zurich
  • 2006-2011  Lichtenberg-Professor (W2), Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
  • 1998-2006   Junior staff member, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Potsdam
  • 1995-1998 Postdocs at City College New York and Nikhef Amsterdam
  • 1995 PhD University of Hannover
  • 1992 MSc Texas A&M University
  • 1988-1991 Studies of Physics, TU Darmstadt


Research interests

Quantum field theory and gravity: Scattering amplitudes, perturbative quantum gravity, qft techniques for gravitational waves; conformal field theory, AdS/CFT, integrability & superstrings in AdS backgrounds; super Yang-Mills theory;  aspects of phenomenology connecting to gravity and conformal symmetry; super membranes and matrix models.

Four personal questions

  1. When I was 18 I wanted to …
    …actually become a theoretical physicist.
  2. A perfect working day starts with…
    … a bright idea in the shower and a breakfast with my family.
  3. Before I am going to retire I would like to …
    …quantize gravity and learn how to windfoil (both equally ambitious)…
  4. My advise to my students is …
    …pick realistic projects, set yourself clear goals, and then work hard!