Thomas Faulkner

Associate Professor


Thomas Faulkner

Primary Research Area

  • High Energy Physics
433 Loomis Laboratory


Thomas Faulkner received his bachelors degree in Physics from the University of Melbourne in 2003. He went on to obtain his Ph.D. from MIT in 2009 working under the guidance of Hong Liu and Krishna Rajagopal. His thesis involved using string theory techniques to study QCD under extreme conditions. From 2009-2012 Thomas held a postdoctoral position at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in UCSB where he continued to make interesting connections between problems in strongly correlated many body physics and string theory. Thomas also held a postdoctoral position at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton from 2012-2013 where he became interested in Entanglement Entropy and the role it plays in fundamental aspects of quantum gravity. Thomas joined the department in 2014.

Research Statement

Broadly speaking my research interests lie at the intersection of exotic phases of quantum matter and string theory. These two subjects are connected via the celebrated holographic duality or AdS/CFT, which asserts that certain string theories are dual to quantum phases of matter. That is there can be two different ways of looking at the same system. By using tools developed in both the condensed matter and string communities I hope to gain insight into fundamental questions on both sides of the duality.

More specifically I am interested in:

1. Entanglement Entropy in quantum many body systems. As a tool to study quantum phases of matter, quantum gravity and black holes.

2. String inspired models of strongly correlated phenomena. Ranging from Non-Fermi Liquids and Quantum Criticality to transport and disorder.

3. Holographic models of QCD under extreme conditions. Signatures of strongly coupled physics in the quark-gluon plasma produced at heavy ion colliders.

Research Honors

  • DOE - Early Career Award (Sep 2018)
  • DARPA - Young Faculty Award (Sep 2015)

Selected Articles in Journals

Related news

  • Accolades
  • High Energy Physics

Assistant Professor of Physics Thomas Faulkner has been selected by the US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science to receive an Early Career Award. The DOE Early Career Research Program, now in its ninth year, provides award recipients with significant funding over a five year period. Faulkner is among 84 scientists at U.S. universities and DOE-supported national laboratories to be selected this year. He is one of only two scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to receive the honor this year.

The Early Career Award recognizes promising scientists within 10 years of having earned their doctoral degrees, working in research areas supported by the DOE Office of Science. Faulkner’s research proposal in theoretical high-energy physics is entitled, “New perspectives on QFT and gravity from quantum entanglement.”