Meet Our Physicists

Daniel S. Freed

Harvard University


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Daniel Freed is the Shiing-Shen Chern Professor of Mathematics and Director of the Center of Mathematical Sciences and Applications at Harvard University. He received his BA and MA in 1981 from Harvard University and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1985 under the supervision of Isadore Singer. While holding a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF), he was also a Moore Instructor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Subsequently, Freed was an Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago. He joined the faculty at the University of Texas in 1989 and in 2023 he joined the faculty at Harvard University. He has held visiting positions at the Institute for Advanced Study, the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques, Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI), the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics, Harvard University, and Stanford University.

Freed has broad mathematical interests in geometry. He has made several contributions to the geometric theory of Dirac operators and related topics in global analysis and topology, as well as to infinite dimensional representation theory. Since his graduate student days, he has also worked with physicists on geometric and topological problems in quantum field theory, string theory, and most recently theoretical condensed matter physics.

His current mathematical work is on topics in geometry and topology arising in part from physics and on new applications of topology to physics. He is a Principal Investigator of the Simons Collaboration on Global Categorical Symmetries.

Freed has written more than 80 research papers and has co-authored and co-edited several books. His awards include a Sloan Fellowship, an NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Senior Berwick Prize of the London Mathematical Society. He is a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society. Freed has longstanding interest and participation in educational issues. He was one of the founders of what is now the Park City/IAS Mathematics Institute, and he served for many years on its Steering Committee. Freed was a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee at MSRI during the period 2002-2006. He currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and he is a General Member of the Aspen Center for Physics. He has co-organized approximately 40 research conferences in the United States and Europe, many involving both mathematicians and physicists.

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Positions Held

General Member, 2015 – current
Trustee, 2023 – current