John C. Baez

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John C. Baez
Baez in August 2009
John Carlos Baez

(1961-06-12) June 12, 1961 (age 62)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
EducationPrinceton University (AB)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (PhD)
SpouseLisa Raphals
AwardsLevi L. Conant Prize (2013)[1]
Scientific career
FieldsMathematics, mathematical physics
InstitutionsUniversity of California, Riverside
ThesisConformally Invariant Quantum Fields (1986)
Doctoral advisorIrving Segal
Doctoral studentsAlissa Crans

John Carlos Baez (/ˈb.ɛz/;[2] born June 12, 1961) is an American mathematical physicist and a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Riverside (UCR)[3] in Riverside, California. He has worked on spin foams in loop quantum gravity, applications of higher categories to physics, and applied category theory. Additionally, Baez is known on the World Wide Web as the author of the crackpot index.


John C. Baez attended Princeton University where he graduated with an A.B. in mathematics in 1982; his senior thesis was titled "Recursivity in quantum mechanics", under the supervision of John P. Burgess.[4] He earned his doctorate in 1986 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under the direction of Irving Segal.[5]


Baez was a post-doctoral researcher at Yale University. Since 1989, he has been a faculty member at UC Riverside. From 2010 to 2012, he took a leave of absence to work at the Centre for Quantum Technologies in Singapore and has since worked there in the summers.[citation needed]


His research includes work on spin foams in loop quantum gravity.[6][7] He also worked on applications of higher categories to physics,[8][9] such as the cobordism hypothesis. He has also dedicated many efforts towards applied category theory, including network theory.[10]


Baez won the 2013 Levi L. Conant Prize for his expository paper with John Huerta, "The algebra of grand unified theories".[1] He was named a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society, in the 2022 class of fellows, "for contributions to higher category theory and mathematical physics, and for popularization of these subjects".[11]


Baez is the author of This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics,[12] an irregular column on the internet featuring mathematical exposition and criticism. He started This Week's Finds in 1993 for the Usenet community, and it now has a following in its new form, the blog Azimuth. This Week's Finds anticipated the concept of a personal weblog.[13] Azimuth also covers other topics that include combating climate change and various other environmental issues.[14]

He is also co-founder of the n-Category Café (or n-Café), a group blog concerning higher category theory and its applications, as well as its philosophical repercussions. The founders of the blog are Baez, David Corfield and Urs Schreiber, and the list of blog authors has extended since. The n-Café community is associated with the nLab wiki and nForum forum, which now run independently of n-Café. It is hosted on The University of Texas at Austin's official website.


Baez's uncle Albert Baez was a physicist and a co-inventor of the X-ray microscope; Albert interested him in physics as a child.[15] Through Albert, he is cousins with singers Joan Baez and Mimi Fariña.

John Baez is married to Lisa Raphals who is a professor of Chinese and comparative literature at UCR.[16][17]

Selected publications[edit]




  1. ^ a b "2013 Conant Prize" (PDF), Notices of the AMS, 60 (4): 484–485, April 2013
  2. ^ "John Baez Part 1"
  3. ^ UC Riverside, Department of Mathematics
  4. ^ Baez, John C. (1982). Recursivity in quantum mechanics. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Department of Mathematics.
  5. ^ John C. Baez at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  6. ^ Baez, John C. (1998), "Spin foam models", Class. & Quantum Gravity 15, 1827–1858
  7. ^ Top Cited Articles of All Time (2004 edition) in gr-qc
  8. ^ John Baez Diary – January 2010, 1 January 2010
  9. ^ John C. Baez and Aaron Lauda, A Prehistory of n-Categorical Physics, Deep Beauty, 13–128, Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, (2011).
  10. ^ John Baez, Network theory.
  11. ^ "2022 Class of Fellows of the AMS". American Mathematical Society. Retrieved November 5, 2021.
  12. ^ This Week's Finds
  13. ^ Lieven LeBruyn, The unbearable lightness of math-blogging, August 23, 2007
  14. ^ "The Azimuth Project".
  15. ^ "Interview by David Morrison". Retrieved May 24, 2009.
  16. ^ February 17, 2007 – Lisa Raphals and I got married today! (Diary – February 2007)
  17. ^ "Lisa Raphals (UCR faculty page)". Archived from the original on May 3, 2014. Retrieved May 3, 2014.

External links[edit]