Scott Macdonald

Assistant Professor (Teaching) of Physics and Astronomy
Email Office SHS 361 Office Phone (213) 821-0740

Research & Practice Areas

AdS/CMT: studying the influence of external magnetic fields on condensed matter-like systems using the techniques of holography.


I grew up with a passion for physics and mathematics. Knowing that string theory is a natural setting for the deep and insightful interplay between the two, I came to USC to pursue research in this exciting field. I love sharing my passion for physics with students, and so have become a lecturer here at USC in hopes of engaging others in this beautiful field.


  • Ph.D. Physics, University of Southern California, 2015
  • B.S. Mathematics, Arizona State University, 2009
  • B.S. Physics, Arizona State University, 2009
  • Research, Teaching, Practice, and Clinical Appointments

    • Lecturer of Physics, University of Southern California, 2015-2018
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    What can string theory teach us about field theory, and vice versa? Holography has been an extremely fruitful set of ideas and tools to study branches of physics where traditional techniques are difficult. Using holography, I try to understand strongly coupled systems that hopefully share universal properties with condensed matter physics, and in turn help further develop the duality which may one day help us realize a full formulation of quantum gravity.

    Research Keywords

    String Theory, AdS/CFT, Holography

  • Journal Article

    • Albash, T., Johnson, C., MacDonald, S. (2015). Entanglement Entropy of Magnetic Electron Stars. JHEP. Vol. 09 (2015), pp. 173. arXiv: 1504.02067
    • Macdonald, S. L. (2014). Thermodynamic Volume of Kerr-bolt-AdS Spacetime. arXiv: 1406.1257
    • Albash, T., Johnson, C., MacDonald, S. (2013). Holography, Fractionalization and Magnetic Fields. Lect.Notes Phys.. Vol. 871, pp. 537-554. arXiv: 1207.1677
    • USC Dissertation Completion Fellowship, 2014-2015
    • USC Dornsife College Fellowship, 2009/08-2014/05