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Susanne Reffert

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Susanne Reffert

I'm a theoretical physicist, which means I’m one of those people who sits around with a notepad and pencil and spends her time staring distractedly into the air...

I like to understand how things work on a very fundamental level. I am particularly interested in the various connections between mathematics and physics, as well as the connections between different subfields of physics, such as string theory and condensed matter physics.

I always knew I wanted to be a scientist. I just had a hard time deciding what kind of science to do, because it all seemed so interesting. After a love affair with chemistry and a flirtation with computer science in high school, I finally settled for physics, as the most fundamental of the natural sciences.

I received my degree in theoretical physics from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, where I had grown up. By this time, I had already figured out that I would enjoy theoretical work more than experimental work, and I was very taken with particle physics. Going into string theory for my graduate work was a natural choice.

For my PhD I moved to Germany, my country of origin. After one year in Berlin, I had to leave this fantastic city for Munich, to follow my advisor who had accepted a chair there. After two more years, I received my PhD and moved on to the charming Amsterdam. During my first postdoc, my research also turned to other subjects beyond string theory, and I became interested in exactly solvable models and statistical physics.

I have lived in Tokyo since September 2008, working as a postdoc at the newly founded Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (IPMU). Moving to Japan is the single most interesting thing I have done in my life.

I am married to another theoretical physicist. We both work at IPMU and write our papers together.

When I'm not thinking about physics, I like to get some exercise with some yoga or dance classes, practicing the guitar and exploring Japan with my camera.