**Cumrun Vafa**is the Hollis Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy in the Physics Department at Harvard University, where he does research and teaches theoretical physics since 1985. Born in Iran in 1960, he moved to the US for higher education where he received his B.S. in math and physics from MIT before moving to Princeton University, where he received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics.

Professor Vafa is world-renowned for his groundbreaking work in string theory and the mathematical technology needed to explore this field. He is one of the founders of the duality revolution in string theory which has reshaped our understanding of the fundamental laws of the universe. He has uncovered mysteries of black holes using topological aspects of string theory and is the founder of `F-theory’ which is one of the most promising directions in connecting string theory solutions known as the `string landscape’ to particle physics. His ideas related to apparently consistent, but ultimately inconsistent, theories of quantum gravity which he initiated in the `swampland’ project has helped narrow down the vast string landscape and is currently an active area of research with impact on cosmology, as well as particle phenomenology. He has given numerous public talks on the relation between string theory, physics and geometry.

Professor Vafa has received numerous prizes and recognitions for his work on theoretical physics including the 2017 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, the 2008 Dirac Medal of ICTP and prizes for his work on mathematical physics from American Mathematical Society, as well as American Physical Society. He received the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2017. Past winners of the medal include six Presidents of the United States; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as esteemed Americans such as Frank Sinatra, Lee Iacocca, Quincy Jones, Muhammad Ali, Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, Louis Zamperini and Rosa Parks, just to name a few.