Nicola N. Khuri, Ph.D.
Khuri uses the tools of pure mathematics to derive experimentally testable relations between measurable properties of very high-energy collisions of elementary particles. These relations follow only from very general properties of space-time and relativity.
Khuri’s research focuses on the mathematical description of elementary particle collisions, created experimentally in accelerators, and making predictions about particle behavior. Currently, he is concerned with an analysis that stresses the importance of measuring the real part of the forward scattering amplitude at the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland. Khuri’s lab has shown how these experiments could test for the existence of a “fundamental length” in space-time.
Past results from the Khuri lab include the discovery of a universality property for very low-energy scattering amplitudes in two dimensions; the completion of a systematic derivation of the transition temperature from the quantum chromodynamics (QCD) Lagrangian within the analysis of color superconductivity as a possible phase of high-density QCD; and a check on the Randall–Sundrum scenario for gravity that shows that the theory is consistent with the Mercury precession test of general relativity.
In a separate project in mathematical physics, the Khuri lab introduced a new method to study the Riemann hypothesis, one of the last unsolved problems in mathematics. Using inverse scattering methods, developed in physics, they found a hypothetical two-body force, the scattering data of which is by construction such that the zero energy Jost function is identical to the Riemann ζ-function. The Riemann zeros are then related to the zero energy-coupling constant spectrum.
Khuri’s early work was in the areas of dispersion relations, Regge pole theory, and asymptotic bounds and relations. He was the first to establish the validity of dispersion relations in nonrelativistic quantum mechanics and started a rigorous study of scattering amplitudes, which led to concepts such as Regge poles and strings.
Khuri was born in Beirut, Lebanon, and received his B.A. with high distinction from the American University of Beirut in 1952. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1955 and 1957, respectively. From 1957 to 1964, he was on the faculty of the American University of Beirut, first as an assistant professor and in 1961 as an associate professor, and was also a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, for three years. Khuri came to Rockefeller in 1964 as associate professor and became professor in 1968. He was a consultant to the Brookhaven National Laboratory for many years and has been a visiting scientist at CERN. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society.