School of Physics and Astronomy

Dr Sanjaye Ramgoolam


Reader in Theoretical Physics

Telephone: 020 7882 5799
Room Number: G. O. Jones Building, Room 609


My research is in the areas of string theory, combinatorics and representation theory. My papers are available at Google Scholar

I am currently teaching  Mathematical Techniques 4 (Year 3) and Advanced Quantum Field theory (Year 4)


Currently teaching  :

  1. PHY6324 (Mathematical Techniques 4)
  2. SPA7001U/P (Advanced Quantum Field Theory)

Undergraduate Projects supervised : 

  1. From classical strings to photons and gravtions
  2. Plasma Physics and Nuclear Fusion
  3. Dark Matter, dark energy and cosmology
  4. Entanglement and decoherence in quantum physics

Modules taught in the past :

  1. Electromagnetic  theory (4th year MSci course)
  2. Quantum Mechanics and Symmetry (3rd year)
  3. Electromagnetism for pre-medical (at Brown)
  4. Quantum Physics (1st year)


Research Interests:

String theory, representation theory, combinatorics

My recent work has largely  been in gauge-string duality, in particular the AdS/CFT correspondence, which relates 4-dimensional quantum field theory  (QFT) to 10-dimensional string theory. I have developed a  mathematical framework based on symmetric groups, Brauer algebras, representation theory, combinatorics, in understanding the map between states in the QFT and states of strings, branes and geometries in the 10 dimensions. A recent theme emerging from these investigations is the role of two-dimensional topological field theories (TFT2)  as a structure which captures both the combinatorics and spacetime dependences of correlators in four-dimensional theories.  I have also developed simple mathematical models of gauge-string duality in low dimensions, e.g deriving the counting of strings wrapping the two-dimensional sphere from matrix models, which can be viewed as zero dimensional QFT. Some of the mathematical  techniques have also been applied to find new counting results for Feynman diagrams  in QFT, including the simplest ones : scalar field theory and quantum electrodynamics (QED, which describes photons and electrons).

A very recent interdisciplinary direction (initiated in a collaboration with D. Kartsaklis and M. Sadrzadeh)  has been to develop matrix theory techniques to give a framework for analyzing matrix data in computational linguistics. This is a video of the talk I gave at the ``Quantum Physics and Logic'' conference organized by the Oxford Quantum Group. 

 A complete list of my papers can be accessed  at Inspire-HEP-database or Google scholar (Following standard practice in theoretical particle physics, author lists are all alphabetical)

Selected papers organised by theme (although some lie at interfaces of these themes 

CFT4 as TFT2

    1. CFT4 as SO(4,2)-invariant TFT2

     2. Quivers as Calculators

    3. Free quantum fields in 4D and Calabi Yau spaces

AdS/CFT, giant graviton branes, correlators of gauge invariant operators

Half-BPS case (related to one-matrix combinatorics)

  1. Exact Correlators of Giant Gravitons from dual N=4 SYM

Eighth-BPS case (related to multi-matrix combinatorics)

  1. Diagonal multi-matrix correlators and BPS operators in N=4 SYM.
  2. From counting to construction of BPS states in N=4 SYM.
  3. Branes, anti-branes and brauer algebras in gauge-gravity duality.

Non-BPS and Integrability

  1.  A double coset ansatz for integrability in AdS/CFT

Fuzzy geometry

  1. On spherical harmonics for fuzzy spheres in diverse dimensions.
  2. The Fuzzy S2 structure of M2-M5 systems in ABJM membrane theories.
  3. Noncommutative gravity from the AdS / CFT correspondence.
  4. Quantum states to brane geometries via fuzzy moduli spaces of giant gravitons.

Mathematical models of gauge-string duality

  1. Large N 2-D Yang-Mills theory and topological string theory
  2. From Matrix Models and Quantum Fields to Hurwitz Space and the absolute Galois Group.
  3. Strings from Feynman Graph counting : without large N.

Supersymmetric Gauge theories

  1. Toric CFTs, Permutation Triples and Belyi Pairs.
  2. Invariants of Toric Seiberg Duality.

Matrix Model of M-theory

  1. Branes, fluxes and duality in M(atrix) theory.


Current and recent grants :

  1. Visiting Professorship, Wits University South Africa
  2. Science and Technology Facilities Council, (£703,989). Brandhuber, Berman, Buican, Figueras, Ramgoolam, Russo, Shigemori, Spence, Thomas, Travaglini, White. Consolidated grant String theory, gauge theory and duality (2017-2020)
  3. Science and Technology Facilities Council, (£632,431). Brandhuber, Berman, Ramgoolam, Russo, Spence, Thomas, Travaglini, Wecht. Consolidated grant String theory, gauge theory and duality (2011-2014)
  4. Science and Technology Facilities Council, (£1,431,413). Spence  Berman, Brandhuber, Ramgoolam, Russo, Thomas, Travaglini. Rolling grant String theory, gauge theory and duality (2008-2013)
  5. Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council: Spence , Berman, Brandhuber, Ramgoolam, Thomas. Rolling grant String theory, gauge theory and gravity (2006-2010),  (£249,800.)
  6. STFC (PPARC) Advanced Fellowship, 2003-2008  (£220,000)
  7. Scientist in charge for  Marie Cure Outgoing Fellowship ( MOIF-CT-2006-038381) held by   Diego Rodriguez Gomez at QMUL and Princeton.
  8. Royal Society International exchange grants with South Africa and Cyprus. 


The complete and up-to-date list of my publications is available at the Inspire-Hep database  and at Google Scholar

A description of some  my research organized according to some general themes is under the Research tab.



PhD students supervised :

  1. Costis Papageorgakis
  2. Tom Brown
  3. David Turton
  4. Jurgis Pasukonis
  5. David Garner 
  6. Paolo Mattioli
  7. Christopher Lewis-Brown (Current)

Recent post-doctoral collaborators  at QMUL  :

  1. Ali Zahabi
  2. Diego Rodriguez Gomez
  3. Vishnu Jejjala
  4. Yusuke Kimura
  5. Paul Heslop
  6. Congkao Wen 

This is not an exhaustive list and I would be happy to discuss other project possibilities.

Project Title

Combinatorics and Representation Theory in Gauge-String in CFT and ADS/CFT

Symmetric groups and their group algebras, along with concepts in representation theory including Schur-Weyl duality, have been applied to the study of half-BPS states in N=4 SYM theory, in particular to clarify the holographic map of the AdS/CFT correspondence. For full details click here

Public Engagement


Some popular talks :

  1. Holography, Information and Meaning: Hidden symmetries of Matrix Physics [PDF 3,276KB] - Ps Star talk, 02/2019
  2. Duality and Emergence in String theory, talk at the Mauritius Diaspora Conference 2018
  3. Symmetries and Surprises in String Theory (Talk for Psi Star QMUL, December 2013)
  4. What is String Theory ? (talk at Bryanston School, April 2012)
  5. Strings and hidden geometries (talk at Inauguration of School of Phys and Astro 2012)
  6. String Theory and Hidden dimensions of spacetime (talk for Waltham Forest Physics masterclass)
  7. From force and matter to strings( talk at Highgate school, 2003)
  8. Strings in the quantum world ( talk at Oxford, 2009 )
  9. Duality and the nature of quantum space-time  : ( talk at Oxford,Jan 2009 )
  10. Space and Time, Light and Gravity in String Theory ( talk at PPARC 2006)

Some research presentations 

  1. Permutation centralizer?algebras, polynomial invariants and supersymmetric states [PDF 1,066KB](talk at conference on representation theory and physics, Leeds, July 2016)
  2. BPS states, permutations and information (talk at YITP Kyoto programme on string theory, condensed matter physics and quantum information, June 2016)
  3. Quantum Field thories (QFTs), quivers and word combinatorics [PDF 4,825KB] (talk at theory group, computer science, EECS, QMUL, Oct. 21, 2015)
  4. CFT4?(4D?conformal QFT) as TFT2( 2D topological field theory) [PDF 4,438KB] (talk at school of Maths, QMUL, Mar 2, 2015)
  5.  Quiver gauge theory and TFT2s (2d topological field theories) [PDF 8,116KB] (talk at Quantum integrability workshop, Surrey, 08/2014)
  6. Quantum states to brane geometries via fuzzy moduli space [PDF 517KB] (talk at Oxford Maths Institute, 02/12)
  7. Permutations, strings and Feynman Graphs [PDF 631KB] ( talk at City Maths Dept, 11/2011)
  8. Strings, Permutations and Quantum Fields [PDF 476KB] (talk at Corfu2011 workshop on non-commutatve field theory and gravity)
  9. Symmetric groups and local operators in gauge theory [PDF 499KB] (talk at Lisbon 2011)
  10. From numbers to strings and branes [PDF 83KB] (talk at Galileo Galilei Institute 2011)
  11. Feynman Diagrams and Absolute Galois group [PDF 293KB] (talk at B(A)MC 2010)
  12. Matrix Models, Hurwitz spaces Galois Group [PDF 667KB](talk in Southampton Pure Maths group)
  13. Fuzzy geometry of membranes in M-theory [PDF 314KB] (talk at Imperial)

A short review article:  

  1. Schur-Weyl duality and Gauge-string duality  (Talk given at "Ten years of AdS/CFT in Argentina,2008)