John Carlos Baez (//; born June 12, 1961) is an American mathematical physicist and a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) in Riverside, California. He is known for his work on spin foams in loop quantum gravity. For some time, his research had focused on applications of higher categories to physics and other things.
Baez is also known to science fans as the author of This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics, 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. Additionally, Baez is known on the World Wide Web as the author of the crackpot index.
Baez was born in San Francisco, California. He graduated from Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey, with a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics in 1982. In 1986, he graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with a Doctor of Philosophy under the direction of Irving Segal. After a post-doctoral period at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, he has been teaching — since 1989 — 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.
Baez runs the blog "Azimuth," where he writes about a variety of topics ranging from This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics to the current focus, combating climate change and various other environmental issues.
Baez 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.
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