Professor Karen Yeats has been awarded a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Combinatorics of Quantum Field Theory.
Karen's research aims to develop our understanding of the conceptual foundations of quantum field theory using combinatorial methods. Physicists use quantum field theory to explain the behaviour of subatomic particles. Its predictions are very accurate, and its development is viewed as one of the outstanding successes of 20th century physics. Nonetheless the underlying mathematical framework is poorly understood. One approach to quantum field theory is based on objects known as Feynman diagrams, which are naturally described using graphs. This leads to a range of problems in graph theory and combinatorial enumeration. Karen's research has two main objectives: understanding the graph theory of Feynman graphs and thereby the structure and values of their Feynman integrals, and understanding the Dyson-Schwinger equations which tell us how to put Feynman graphs together into physically observable quantities.
The Government of Canada established the Canada Research Chairs program in 2000 to build Canada’s research and development capacity. The program invests approximately $265 million per year to attract and retain some of the world's most accomplished and promising minds researching in the areas of engineering and the natural sciences, health sciences, humanities and social sciences. Tier 2 Chairs, tenable for five years and renewable once, are for exceptional emerging researchers, acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field. For each Tier 2 Chair, the university receives $100,000 annually for five years.