Eric Myers: Research

I received my Ph.D. from Yale University in 1984 for analyzing the effects of quantum gravity in space-times having more than 4 dimensions.   In particular, I was able to calculate the vacuum energy (aka Casimir energy) of the gravitational field in space-times where the extra dimensions formed a higher dimensional torus (1983) and hypersphere (1984).

After finishing my Ph.D. I was a post-doctoral fellow at Brookhaven National Laboratory (1984-86), where I was able to extend the results of my thesis work to include an even number of extra dimensions.

From there I went on to another post-doctoral position, at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia (1986-89), but  ended up spending most of that time in Boston as a visiting research associate at Boston University (1987-89). While at BU I worked with Claudio Rebbi to perform numerical simulations of the collisions of cosmic strings in the early universe.  We established that when two cosmic strings come together, they will “intercommute” (i.e. trade ends), rather than interconnecting or interpenetrating.   This was very important for both cosmic strings and their possible role in seeding galaxy formation, because the other two alternatives would have completely ruled out the existence of cosmic strings.

Shown here are some slides from our simulations showing the intercommutation.  The colors represent the energy density in the strings, progressing from lowest (green) to highest (purple).

While at BU I also worked on numerical simulation of the Quark-Gluon plasma at finite temperature, simulations of magnetism using the Ising model, and a variety of other interesting topics where high-energy physics and solid-state physics overlap.

From Boston I moved to Austin, TX to work for Prof. Bryce DeWitt in the Center for Relativity at the University of Texas. Our group performed Monte-Carlo lattice field theory studies of the SO(2,1) nonlinear sigma model using several different supercomputers. Our results, after several years, were mixed.  We were finally able to obtain the continuum limit of the model, even though it is perturbatively non-renormalizable, but that limit turned out to be a free field theory.  In the technical parlance of quantum field theory the model is “trivial,” though proving that result certainly was not.


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