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School of Physical and Chemical Sciences

Dr Congkao Wen


Royal Society University Research Fellow | Senior Lecturer

Telephone: 207 882 5923
Room Number: G. O. Jones Building, Room 613


I joined the Centre for Theoretical Physics (CTP) in 2018. Previously, I held research positions at Caltech, at University of Rome, Tor Vergata, and at CTP in QMUL. I recieved my PhD at Brown University, and I did my undergraduate and graduate studies at Zhejiang University.


I currently teach a postgraduate course `Introduction to strings and branes`. The course is a basic introduction to String theory and Branes.

I also supervise undergraduate and master projects.


Research Interests:

My recent research interest focuses on perturbative and non-perturbative aspects of quantum field theory, quantum gravity and string theory.

One of my main areas of activity has been developing and exploiting modern powerful techniques of scattering amplitudes, which includes two main research directions: 1. new formulations of scattering amplitudes in terms of twistor theory and Grassmannian geometry; 2. applying modern techniques of scattering amplitudes to other research areas. 

Over the past few years, new twistor-like formulas have been discovered for scattering amplitudes in a wide range of interesting theories, including the world-volume theory of single probe brane in M-theory and string theory. These new mathematical formulas not only provide concrete formulas for the amplitudes in these theories, but also reveal new structures. This research direction is to discover such new formulations for more theories and explore the implications. 

My other major line of work is to study the applications of scattering amplitude techniques in other research areas. In particular, I am interested in understanding the symmetry constraints on effective actions in the language of scattering amplitudes. Scattering amplitudes provide extremely efficient ways of imposing the constraints, in the form of, for instance, soft theorems, unitarity and superamplitude consistency. 

Recently, I have also been interested in exploring deep connections between flat-space amplitudes and holographic correlation functions in AdS space. Holographic correlators resemble many properties of flat-space scattering amplitudes, especially when formulated in Mellin space. This allows us to apply "amplitude-inspired methods" to study these correlators at the level of supergravity limit and beyond. 

Examples of research funding:

Grants held at QMUL:

Royal Society University Research Fellowship, 2018 - 2022 (£430,693)

Royal Society Grant supporting a PhD Studentship, 2018 - 2022 (£92,148)

Royal Society Grant supporting a PhD Studentship,  2022-2024 (£52,218)

Royal Society University Research Fellowship Renewals, 2023- 2025 (£356,623)

Royal Society Grant supporting a postdoc,  2023-2025 (£240,000)


My list of publications:

Complete list of publications on INSPIRE-HEP.


Scattering amplitudes: New formulations and Applications
Scattering amplitudes are one of the most fundamental observables in quantum field theory and string theory. In recent years, hidden structures of scattering amplitudes have been uncovered, and extremely powerful computational methods have been developed. These developments have dramatically improved our understanding of quantum field theory and string theory. This project will focus on the most recent and remarkable developments in this rapidly evolving research field. In particular, the research projects include new formulations of scattering amplitudes, as well as the applications of scattering amplitudes to other research areas ranging from constraining effective field theories to gravitational waves to holographic correlation functions in the context of AdS/CFT duality. 

Requirements: knowledge of Quantum Field Theory, String Theory and Supersymmetry at the level of a Master course.

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