• Dr.
    • Nichol Furey
    • Humboldt University - Berlin
    • Mathematical Physics

An Algebraic Roadmap of Particle Theories

Since the 1970s, physicists have worked to fuse the fragmented pieces of the Standard Model of particle physics into something known as a (grand) unified theory. In this context, six models have appeared again and again over the last fifty years. They are known as the Spin(10) model, the Georgi-Glashow model, the Pati-Salam model, the Left-Right Symmetric model, the Standard Model pre-Higgs, and the Standard Model post-Higgs. In recent work, we have demonstrated that these six models are in fact each related to one another in algebraic cascades. Specifically, we have shown that it is possible to move from one theory to the next by considering a form of reflection that generalizes the notion of complex conjugation.


Nichol Furey was born and raised on the west coast of Canada, not far from Vancouver. In 11th grade, a highschool teacher told her for the first time about the idea in physics known as unification. Namely, since the 1970s, theorists have been trying to unify the fundamental forces into just a single force. The idea was so beautiful that Furey was instantly hooked. She went on to pursue degrees in mathematical physics from Simon Fraser University, Cambridge, Perimeter Institute, and then research fellowships from Cambridge, African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, and now Humboldt-Universität. In her research, she seeks to understand if the structure of elementary particle physics derives from certain special algebras in mathematics.