Christopher’s work explores the physics of boundaries and defects in quantum field theory and gravity, upon which some of the most important recent developments in theoretical physics have depended. Boundaries are ubiquitous in the world around us and yet are poorly understood in the context of these two conceptual frameworks that describe the universe in which we live.
Black holes, for instance, remain mysterious objects largely because of the event horizon, a boundary beyond which should something fall, it cannot escape. All experimental systems will be finite in extent, with physical boundaries and possibly also internal defects. In general, however, it is not understood how these boundaries and defects change the behaviour of a conformal field theory. Might many of our recent developments in theoretical physics have been obvious had we simply understood boundaries and defects in quantum field theory and gravity better to begin with?
On his Fellowship success, Christopher said: