Steven Carlip

Headshot of Steven Carlip


One Shields Avenue
Physics Department
Davis, CA 95616

Office: 437 Physics Building
Phone: +1 (530) 752-8786
Fax: +1 (530) 752-4717

Personal Website:

Research Interests:

Steven Carlip works on one of the fundamental unsolved problems in modern theoretical physics, the effort to combine general relativity and quantum mechanics into a consistent quantum theory of gravity. Carlip is a generalist: rather than focusing exclusively on a single research program such as string theory, he looks for "windows" into quantum gravity, relatively simple settings, models, and approximations that may offer insights without requiring a complete theory. Among his current areas of research are:

* Looking at quantum gravity in fewer than four spacetime dimensions as a test bed for approaches to the full quantum theory; * Trying to understand the quantum gravitational basis of black hole thermodynamics; * Investigating "causal dynamical triangulations," a discrete lattice model of quantum gravity that shows considerable promise; * Exploring the structure of spacetime at the smallest scales, and studying the possibility of "spontaneous dimensional reduction" from four to two dimensions; * Searching for experimental tests that might at least tell us whether gravity is really quantized at all.

Research Areas

Career History

  • Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin, 1987.
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, The Institute for Advanced Study, 1987-1990
  • Assistant Professor, University of California, Davis, 1990-1994
  • Associate Professor, University of California, Davis, 1994-1998
  • Professor, University of California, Davis, 1998-Present