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School of Physics

Yi, Piljin


String Theory, Field Theory, and Quantum Gravity

Prof. Piljin Yi works on string theories, field theories, and gravity. He is widely recognized for an existence proof of D0-brane bound states via an index computation, which remains arguably the most direct evidence for the hypothetical M-theory, believed to encompass all known superstring theories as conjectured by E. Witten. He has recently returned to an in-depth investigation of index theorems in physics context, refining this D0-brane study and producing a sweeping generalization of the celebrated Atiyah-Singer theorem to the gauged systems. He is also an expert on supersymmetric solitons, and authored a series of landmark papers. Emergence of closed strings as coherent objects in unstable open string theories is another of his important legacy, with potential applications to stringy cosmology and, more importantly, with far-reaching implications for the elusive string field theory. A holographic study of nucleons, an unusual excursion, with some impact, to real world physics has been presented in plenary sessions of influential nuclear physics meetings. He has been invited for plenary talks at the prestigious Strings Conferences in 2003 and in 2013, respectively, and currently serves in the International Advisory Committee thereof.

  • Ph.D. California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, June 1994
  • Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Columbia University, New York, Sept.1994 - Aug. 1997
  • Research Associate, Newman Lab, Cornell University, Ithaca, Sept.1997 - May 1999
  • Visiting Professor, University of Chicago, Chicago, February 2001
  • Member, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, Fall Semester, 2004
  • Visiting Professor, Stanford University, Stanford, Winter & Fall Quarters, 2008
  • Chair, School of Physics, Korea Institute for Advanced Study, Jan. 2014 - Aug. 2016
  • Vice President, Korea Institute for Advanced Study, Nov. 2016 - Dec. 2019
  • Research Council, Institute for Basic Science, Jan. 2015 - Jan. 2021
  • Vice President, Korean Physical Society, 2021-2022
  • Trustee, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST), Oct. 2019 - Nov. 2022
  • Trustee, The Happiness Foundation, Mar. 2019 -
  • Professor of Physics, Korea Institute for Advanced Study, Seoul, Sept. 1998 -
  • Prime Minister Award for Academic Excellence, Commencement, Seoul National University, February 1987
  • Fellow, Korea Foundation for Advanced Study, 1987-1994
  • Outstanding Young Reseacher Award, APS March Meeting, 1998
  • Invited Speaker, Strings Conference, Kyoto, 2003
  • Outstanding Scientist, The Korea Academy of Science and Technology. 2007
  • MEST Research & Development Top 50 Projects, Korea, 2007
  • Top 100 Nationwide Research Output, KISTEP, Korea, 2008
  • Leading Scientist, The Korea Academy of Science and Technology, 2013
  • Invited Review Speaker, Strings Conference, Seoul, 2013

Publications at KIAS


  • Office: 1316 / TEL) 82-2-958-3757 / FAX) 82-2-958-3786
  • School of Physics, Korea Institute for Advanced Study
  • 85 Hoegiro Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul 02455, Republic of Korea.