Seth Koren

Seth Koren

Oehme Postdoctoral Fellow

Enrico Fermi Institute of the University of Chicago


I’m a theoretical physicist focused on understanding what exists Beyond the Standard Models of particle physics and cosmology by working at the junction of high energy theory and the real world. I have broad interests across many aspects of particle physics, field theory, cosmology, and gravity, and I enjoy collaborating, mentoring, and other forms of talking about physics.

I’m quite proud of my dissertation, which begins with an extensive introduction aiming to pedagogically explain renormalization and the hierarchy problem. I place considerable focus on clearing conceptual pitfalls and on debunking common misconsceptions, and I’ve been flattered to hear that it is a useful resource for the community.

My thesis also received the APS 2022 Sakurai Dissertation Award in Theoretical Particle Physics, though that was more about the sections on my own research.

Recently I was honored to be invited to give the Enrico Fermi Institute’s 91st Compton Lectures, a series of lectures each Saturday for the general public over eight weeks in Spring 2023. I delivered a wide-ranging series of lectures with the title “Particles, the Cosmos, and You: An Origin Story from the Edges of Space and Time” aimed at presenting our well-understood, empirical answers to age-old questions like “What are we made of?” and “Where did we come from?” through the lens of fundamental particle physics and cosmology.

What the heck sort of website is this anyway

This is emphatically not one of those academic websites where you learn that I always knew I wanted to do physics; or some family friend was a scientist who inspired me; or I won national math contests in high school; or I got a scholarship to my first-choice unversity; or I solved some longstanding open problem as an undergraduate, and then you go away a bit awed and feeling like maybe you aren’t sure that you can make it as a scientist yourself. There are enough such websites you may visit.

It is instead my intention to be honest and overly open about myself and my experiences in and out of academia, to be raw and unfiltered, and to therefore reflect accurately the reality that you don’t have to have done everything right, or have started learning science as a toddler, or have a brain which works like others', or conform to any aesthetic expectations in order to be a good physicist. I expand on this motivation elsewhere on this site, and I also took the opportunity of accepting the APS Sakurai Award to make some related unconventional remarks as well.