Eva Silverstein

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Eva Silverstein
Born(1970-10-24)October 24, 1970
Alma mater
Spouse(s)Shamit Kachru
Scientific career
Doctoral advisorEdward Witten

Eva Silverstein (born October 24, 1970) is an American theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and string theorist. She is best known for her work on early universe cosmology, developing the structure of inflation and its range of signatures, as well as extensive contributions to string theory and gravitational physics. Her early work included control of tachyon condensation in string theory and resulting resolution of some spacetime singularities (with Joseph Polchinski and others). Other significant research contributions include the construction of the first models of dark energy in string theory, some basic extensions of the AdS/CFT correspondence to more realistic field theories (with Shamit Kachru), as well as the discovery of a predictive new mechanism for cosmic inflation involving D-brane dynamics (with David Tong) which helped motivate more systematic analyses of primordial non-Gaussianity.

Silverstein is a professor of physics at Stanford University and director of the Modern Inflationary Cosmology collaboration within the Simons Foundation Origins of the Universe initiative.[1]


I first became interested when I learned what physics was some time in high school. I had a very interesting high school physics teacher. I had always enjoyed math and physical science and when I saw the power of physics to explain and predict physical phenomena through simple principles and calculations, I became hooked. I was especially fascinated by special relativity, which starts from a simple physical principle that the speed of light, and in general all laws of nature, are the same in all reference frames, and derives through simple high school algebra amazing consequences such as the fact that time slows down in moving frames. When I realized that one could produce such things full time and actually make a living at it, I never really looked back.

— Eva Silverstein, quoted at String People

Professional academic history[edit]

  • Postdoctoral Associate, Rutgers University, 1996–1997
  • Assistant Professor, SLAC, Stanford, 1997–2001
  • Associate Professor, SLAC and Stanford Physics Department, Stanford, 2001–2006
  • Professor, SLAC and Stanford Physics Department, Stanford, 2006–2016
  • Professor, Stanford Physics Department, Stanford, 2006–Present
  • Professor, University of California Physics Department[2]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • MacArthur Fellow, 1999
  • DOE Outstanding Junior Investigator, 1999–2001
  • Sloan Fellowship, 1999–2003
  • Bergmann Memorial Award, 2000 [3]
  • APS Fellow, 2016 "For fundamental contributions to quantum gravity and early universe cosmology."[4]
  • Simons Investigator, 2017[5]

Research areas[edit]

What are the basic degrees of freedom and interactions underlying gravitational and particle physics? What is the mechanism behind the initial seeds of structure in the universe, and how can we test it using cosmological observations? Is there a holographic framework for cosmology that applies throughout the history of the universe, accounting for the effects of horizons and singularities? What new phenomena arise in quantum field theory in generic conditions such as finite density, temperature, or in time dependent backgrounds?[6]


Raised in Spokane, Washington, Silverstein is the daughter of Harry S. and Lorinda Knight Silverstein and graduated from Lewis and Clark High School.[7][8][9] Her father is a professor emeritus of philosophy at Washington State University in Pullman.[10]

Silverstein is married to fellow string theorist Shamit Kachru; both were doctoral students of Edward Witten.


  1. ^ "New Initiative Ponders Origins of the Universe | Simons Foundation". www.simonsfoundation.org. 2017-07-21.
  2. ^ http://www.kitp.ucsb.edu/kitpnews/item/?id=60[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ "APS Fellow Archive". www.aps.org.
  5. ^ Simons Investigators Awardees, The Simons Foundation
  6. ^ https://sitp.stanford.edu/people/eva-silverstein
  7. ^ Vorpahl, Beverly (July 7, 1988). "People". Spokesman-Review. p. S7.
  8. ^ "Spokane grad gets genius grant". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. October 7, 1999. p. 3D.
  9. ^ "Going for it". Spokane Chronicle. photo. July 3, 1982. p. 1.
  10. ^ Shier, Phyllis (2010). "Professor emeritus endows annual fund for best student philosopher". Washington State University. Archived from the original on March 4, 2015. Retrieved September 25, 2014.

External links[edit]