The Strong Fields, Integrability and Strings programme, which took place at the Isaac Newton Institute, explored an area that would have been close to Isaac Newton’s heart: how to unify Einstein’s theory of gravity, a continuation of Newton’s own work on gravitation, with quantum field theory, which describes the atomic and sub-atomic world, but cannot account for the force of gravity. The strongest contender for such a unified theory of quantum gravity is string theory, but to date string theory remains purely theoretical – it cannot be tested in the laboratory and its relation to other areas of physics is unclear.
The programme set out to explore a remarkable breakthrough made by the physicist Juan Maldacena in the late 1990s. String theory and quantum field theory had traditionally been separate areas within physics, but Maldacena proposed an exact mathematical correspondence between the two. This result, known as the AdS/CFT correspondence, suggests that the two theories are in fact equivalent, and opens up tantalising possibilities: perhaps long-standing problems from one theory can be translated into problems in the other, where they might be easier to solve. The technique promises to shed light on a range of fundamental physical questions, from the beginning of the Universe to a precise mathematical understanding of particle physics.
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INI is a creative collaborative space which is occupied by up to fifty-five mathematical scientists at any one time (and many more when there is a workshop). Some of them may not have met before and others may not realise the relevance of other research to their own work.
INI is especially important as a forum where early-career researchers meet senior colleagues and form networks that last a lifetime.
Here you can learn about all activities past, present and future, watch live seminars and submit your own proposals for research programmes.
Within this section of the website you should find all the information required to arrange and plan your visit to the Institute. If you have any further questions, or are unable to find the information you require, please get in touch with the relevant staff member or our Reception team via our contact pages.
INI and its programme participants produce a range of publications to communicate information about activities and events, publish research outcomes, and document case studies which are written for a non-technical audience. You will find access to them all in this section.
The Isaac Newton Institute aims to maximise the benefit of its scientific programmes to the UK mathematical science community in a variety of ways.
Whether spreading research opportunities through its network of correspondents, offering summer schools to early career researchers, or hosting public-facing lectures through events such as the Cambridge Festival, there is always a great deal of activity to catch up on.
Find out about all of these endeavours in this section of the site.
There are various ways to keep up-to-date with current events and happenings at the Isaac Newton Institute. As detailed via the menu links within this section, our output covers social media streams, news articles, a regular podcast series, an online newsletter, and more detailed documents produced throughout the year.
“A world famous place for research in the mathematical sciences with a reputation for efficient management and a warm welcome for visitors”
The Isaac Newton Institute is a national and international visitor research institute. It runs research programmes on selected themes in mathematics and the mathematical sciences with applications over a wide range of science and technology. It attracts leading mathematical scientists from the UK and overseas to interact in research over an extended period.
INI has a vital national role, building on many strengths that already exist in UK universities, aiming to generate a new vitality through stimulating and nurturing research throughout the country.During each scientific programme new collaborations are made and ideas and expertise are exchanged and catalysed through lectures, seminars and informal interaction, which the INI building has been designed specifically to encourage.
For INI’s knowledge exchange arm, please see the Newton Gateway to Mathematics.
The Institute depends upon donations, as well as research grants, to support the world class research undertaken by participants in its programmes.
Fundraising activities are supported by a Development Board comprising leading figures in academia, industry and commerce.
Visit this section to learn more about how you could play a part in supporting INI’s groundbreaking research.
In this section you can find contact information, staff lists, maps and details of how to find INI’s main building in Cambridge.
Our administrative staff can help you with any queries regarding a prospective or planned visit. If you would like to discuss a proposed a research programme or other event, our senior management team will be happy to help.