
Harold C. Steinacker, Ph.D. Lecturer and principal investigator, Universität Wien Fakultät für
Physik




Email: harold.steinacker at univie.ac.at Phone: +43 1 4277 51526 Office: 5th floor 
Research Interests : Theoretical and mathematical physics.
My core interest is the theory of fundamental interactions. I
grew up scientifically in the „formal highenergy theory“
group at UC Berkeley (advisor: Bruno
Zumino), and my research is aimed towards a quantum
theory of all fundamental interactions including gravity. More specifically, I'm following and developing an
approach known as „Matrix Theory“, focusing on the IKKT model
(which is closely related to the BFSS model).
This can be viewed as a constructive approach to string
theory, which avoids the issue of
a „landscape of compactifications“ and the inherent lack of
predictivity.
The basic idea of this approach is to recover spacetime as
a „quantized brane“ solution of the matrix model, and
physics from the dynamics of the fluctuations on this
solution. For YangMills gauge theories, this works in a
very nice and convincing
way. The main challenge is to recover gravity. While
string theory tends to focus on the 10D „bulk“ gravity, this doesn't help here.
However, gravity might emerge directly on the
spacetime brane. Once this is understood, its quantization
should be provided naturally by the matrix model.
Recently I'm focusing on a very promising class of such
spacetime solutions, dubbed „covariant quantum spaces“: They naturally lead to the spin 2 fluctuations
required for gravity, and seem to have just the right
properties. In particular, a
recently found cosmological spacetime looks very promising. This is work in progress,
stay tuned! See also the related
press
release.
Thankfully, this
work has been supported by the Austrian Science Fund FWF.
Without that support, it would not be possible for me to
continue this line of research at the University of Vienna.
Apart from this longterm project, I'm also interested in
other topics in the context of the theory of elementary particles
and fundamental interactions, quantum gravity, string theory,
noncommutative geometry, random matrix theory, quantum groups,
etc.
Research Project "Squashed Extra Dimensions in Gauge Theory and Matrix Models"
supported by the FWF, P 28590
The focus of this project is to explore the physical
consequences of fuzzy extra dimensions, notably by certain
selfintersecting quantum geometries. This is directly relevant
to the abovementioned Matrix Theory, but it also arise within
the framework of ordinary YangMills gauge theory.
This has developed towards „covariant quantum spaces“, which
allow to reconcile the notions of covariance and quantum
space(time), and provide a promising basis for a higher spin
extension of quantum gravity.
Members of this research group:
Marcus Sperling (postdoc), Timon Salar Gutleb (Master's
student), H.S.
Possible topics for a Master's thesis
(completed) Project "Branes, Gauge Theory and Gravity in Matrix Models"
supported by the FWF, P24713
members of this research group:
Dr. Jochen Zahn (postdoc), Mag. Paul Schreivogel (Ph.D.
Student), Clemens Kerschbaumer, Lukas Schneiderbauer (Masters
students), Mag. Stefan Andronache, myself
related
press
release
(completed) project
"Matrix
Models,
Quantum Spaces, and Gravity"
supported by FWF, P21610
members of this research group:
Dr. Daniel Blaschke (postdoc), Mag. Paul Schreivogel (Ph.D.
Student), Nikolaj Kuntner (Diploma student), myself
Publications
InSPIRE HEPpreprint database: search
COST network QSPACE
(I'm member of the management
committee & leader of the working
group on gravity models)
Training school Quantum
Structure of Spacetime and Gravity 2016