2016-present: Perimeter Institute (Postdoc) 2013-2016: Northwestern University (NSF Postdoc / Boas Assistant Professor) 2007-2013: UC Berkeley (PhD student) 2003-2007: Stanford (Undergraduate) prehistory-2003: Eugene, OR

Talks by Theo Johnson-Freyd

On the classification of topological phases

Theo Johnson-Freyd Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

There is a rich interplay between higher algebra (category theory, algebraic topology) and condensed matter. I will describe recent mathematical results in the classification of gapped topological phases of matter. These results allow powerful techniques from stable homotopy theory and higher categories to be employed in the classification. In one direction, these techniques allow for complete a priori classifications in spacetime dimensions ≤6. In the other direction, they suggest fascinating and surprising statements in mathematics.

Gapped condensation in higher categories

Theo Johnson-Freyd Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

Idempotent (aka Karoubi) completion is used throughout mathematics: for instance, it is a common step when building a Fukaya category. I will explain the n-category generalization of idempotent completion. We call it "condensation completion" because it answers the question of classifying the gapped phases of matter that can be reached from a given one by condensing some of the chemicals in the matter system. From the TFT side, condensation preserves full dualizability.

A deformation invariant of 1+1D SQFTs

Theo Johnson-Freyd Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

The elliptic genus is a powerful deformation invariant of 1+1D SQFTs: if it is nonzero, then it protects the SQFT from admitting a deformation to one with spontaneous supersymmetry breaking. I will describe a "secondary" invariant, defined in terms of mock modularity, that goes beyond the elliptic genus, protecting SQFTs with vanishing elliptic genus. The existence of this invariant supports the hypothesis that the space of minimally supersymmetric 1+1D SQFTs provides a geometric model for universal elliptic cohomology. Based on joint works with D. Gaiotto and E. Witten.