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Effective Field Theories From String Compactification

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Speaker: Jonathan Heckman, UNC Chapel Hill
Location: 432 Physics
Start time: Mon, Mar 9 2015, 1:10PM

Though often viewed as a tool in the study of quantum gravity, one of the surprising outcomes from recent work in string theory is the wealth of insights it generates in the construction and study of low energy effective quantum field theories decoupled from gravity. In this talk we illustrate these points by focusing on the special case of six-dimensional superconformal field theories, a particularly interesting class of quantum field theories in which the constituent degrees of freedom are tensionless strings rather than particles. Using a strongly coupled phase of string theory known as F-theory, we show how to generate 6D SCFTs from the geometry of elliptically fibered Calabi-Yau threefolds -- the extra dimensions of F-theory. We then explain how these geometric considerations allow us to classify possibly all 6D SCFTs. Quite surprisingly, these theories all have a rather simple universal structure which is conveniently captured by generalized quiver diagrams in which there is a single line of quiver nodes. We also discuss how these results fit in the broader context of string compactification.