Academic Year 2008/2009

Unless otherwise stated, seminars will take place in 7.01 of the at the University of Edinburgh.
Please contact the organisers Tim Adamo (UoE) or Richard Davison (HW) with any questions regarding the seminars.
Wednesday, 8 July 2009 at
University of Durham
Wednesday, 29 April 2009 at 14:30
David Tong (DAMTP, Cambridge)
Non-Abelian Berry phase is a generic feature in quantum mechanics, where states undergo a holonomy as one changes parameters. I will give an introduction to this phenomenon and explain why it is particularly natural in supersymmetric quantum mechanics. I will also show how supersymmetry allows us to find exact expressions for the Berry phase in strongly coupled, or many-body, systems.
Monday, 27 April 2009 at 14:30
Frederic Schuller (AEI Potsdam)
All we know about the structure of physical spacetime, we ultimately infer from the behaviour of matter inhabiting it. Restricting attention to classical matter, Einstein showed in this fashion how the properties of electromagnetic fields reveal an underlying metric structure of spacetime. General relativity then builds on taking the Lorentzian metric seriously as a dynamical object in its own right, providing a phenomenally successful theory of gravity. But all matter is quantum, and in this talk I will show how this leads to the emergence of a refined `area metric' geometry. Gravitational dynamics for four-dimensional area metric manifolds then provide a theory of spacetime and matter, which surprisingly addresses the observed late-time accelerated expansion of the universe without a need for dark energy. The emergence of an area metric spacetime structure has further remarkable consequences for singularity theory and our understanding of physics in strong gravitational fields.
Thursday, 23 April 2009 at
University of York
Wednesday, 15 April 2009 at 14:30
José Figueroa-O'Farrill (University of Edinburgh)
Superconformal Chern-Simons + matter theories in three dimensions can be formulated in terms of 3-algebras, and this has intensified their study recently. I will introduce the notions of a metric 3-Lie and more generally 3-Leibniz algebra, the associated Leibniz algebra. I will then present the deformation problem for general 3-Leibniz algebras and show that they are governed by the cohomology of the associated Leibniz algebra with coefficients in a certain representation. I will then specialize to the 3-algebras of physical interest and end with an example. Although the topic is inherently technical, I hope to give an overview emphasising the ideas and not the details.
Computational aspects of Riemann surfaces and integrable systems
Friday, 13 March 2009 at
Wednesday, 4 March 2009
Neil Lambert (King's College London)
Multiple M2-brane dynamics
Christian Sämann (Trinity College Dublin)
About a year ago, Bagger, Lambert and Gustavsson proposed a candidate model for an effective description of multiple M2-branes. In this talk, I will present a number of recent results on this model such as superfield formulations, extensions of the gauge algebraic structures involved and an interpretation within strong homotopy Lie algebras.
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 at 16:00
Volker Braun (Dublin IAS)
Metrics, connections, and laplacians in Calabi-Yau compactifications
Wednesday, 28 January 2009 at 14:30
Daniel Friedan (Rutgers)
Gradient property of the boundary RG flow for supersymmetric 1+1d quantum field theories
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
Fernando Izaurieta (Chile)
It has been pointed out several times in the past that eleven-dimensional Chern-Simons supergravity would make a natural candidate for M-theory, due to its appealing good behaviour as a gauge theory. However, according to our current understanding of string theory and M-theory, in that case it should be possible to recover standard Cremmer-Julia-Scherk supergravity as some kind of limit of Chern-Simons supergravity. All efforts notwithstanding the issue remains open until now. A possible solution to the problem could be to compare not the dynamics of both theories but directly their action principles. It seems standard supergravity could correspond to higher order corrections to a length parameter.
James Lucietti (Durham)
Extremal black holes
PhD comics take on seminars