Academic Year 2018/2019

Unless otherwise stated, seminars will take place in Seminar Room of the ICMS at the University of Edinburgh.
Please contact the organisers Jelle Hartong (UoE) or Bart Vlaar (HW) with any questions regarding the seminars.
Wednesday, 3 October 2018
ICMS Lecture Theatre (room 5.10)
14:30
Amihay Hanany (Imperial College)
When M5 branes are placed in an A type ALE background there are tensionless strings which arise each time 2 or more M5 branes coincide. The system has no low energy Lagrangian description and new techniques need to be applied in order to figure out the relevant physics of such coincident M5 branes. The world volume theory on the M5 branes has (0,1) supersymmetry in 6 dimensions with massless vector, tensor and hyper multiplets. There are two branches on the moduli space of vacuum configurations where scalar fields in tensor and hyper multiplets receive VEVs, respectively. In this talk we will focus on the Higgs branch of the low energy theory and find new and fairly surprising results. Each time there is a new tensionless string, there is a new Higgs branch, thus the theory has a multitude of Higgs branches depending on the types of tensionless strings in the spectrum. There are two main effects: “discrete gauging” and “small instanton transitions” (when one extends beyond A type) and a need to efficiently describe the so many Higgs branches which arise. The main tool is the Coulomb branch of 3d N=4 gauge theories, which has been studied intensively by many of my collaborators.
16:00
Bart Vlaar (Heriot-Watt)
Quantum integrability is typically underpinned by factorizability criteria (say, of a scattering process). Away from boundaries this is the Yang-Baxter equation, a cubic relation which is intimately connected to certain bialgebras known as affine quantum groups and their representations. In the presence of a boundary, a quartic relation known as the reflection equation is the natural analogue. It arises naturally in the representation theory of certain pairs (affine quantum group, coideal subalgebra). We will survey this and highlight some recent work: the classification of solutions in the case of quantum affine sl_N (joint work with V. Regelskis). We will also outline some work in progress about the axiomatic characterization and construction of so-called universal solutions (joint with R. Weston and A. Appel, respectively).
Wednesday, 17 October 2018
ICMS Lecture Theatre (room 5.10)
14:30
Jan de Boer (University of Amsterdam)
TBA
16:00 (change of location: Seminar Room 5.02)
Marc-Antoine Fiset (University of Oxford)
Conformal field theories with higher spin currents have been known to govern type II string dynamics in exceptional holonomy manifolds since the work of Shatashvili and Vafa. From a nonlinear sigma-model viewpoint, the reduction of holonomy yields chiral symmetries extending (1,1) supersymmetry. I will generalise this result to generic (1,0) models with Fermi superfields, appropriate in particular for heterotic compactifications. I will then comment on anomalies of these symmetries, as a first step to bridge the gap between target space geometry and abstract conformal field theory. Based on 1809.01138.
Wednesday, 31 October 2018
ICMS Lecture Theatre
14:30
David Skinner (Cambridge)
Ambitwistor strings are chiral worldsheet theories that correspond to a field theory on their target space. On flat space, they provide the theoretical framework in which to understand the `scattering equations’ approach to amplitudes in massless field theories pioneered by Cachazo, He and Yuan. These strings are consistent whenever the background space-time obeys Einstein’s equations, so in principle can also be used to resum supergravity Witten diagrams in AdS. I report on progress in this direction, seeking an explicit form for the `AdS scattering equations’.
16:00
Paolo Glorioso (University of Chicago)
In the first part of the talk I will introduce the formalism of non-equilibrium EFT and show how it provides a unified field theory description of the low-energy behavior of systems in local thermal equilibrium. I will then describe recent progress showing consistency with unitarity and causality at (perturbative) quantum level. In the second part of the talk I will discuss effective theory for Floquet systems, which do not possess any strict notion of equilibrium. I will show how one can adapt the general approach of non-equilibrium EFT to describe topological response of such systems.
Wednesday, 14 November 2018
ICMS Seminar Room
14:30
David Vegh (Queen Mary)
The classical motion of a string in AdS_3 spacetime is governed by the generalized sinh-Gordon theory. This theory has singular soliton solutions which correspond to cusps on the string. In this talk, I examine string solutions where such cusps are classically pair-produced. For the calculations, I use an exact discretization of the equation of motion. If time permits, I will also discuss some recent results.
16:00
Pietro Benetti Genolini (Cambridge)
I will describe holographic duals to topologically twisted gauge theories on Riemannian four- and three-manifolds. Imposing boundary conditions for the supergravity fields corresponding to the topological twists, the renormalised supergravity action is independent of the choice of boundary metric. Under additional regularity assumptions, the on-shell action can be evaluated and shown to always vanish, which provides a prediction for the large N limit of topologically twisted theories.
Wednesday, 28 November 2018
ICMS Lecture Theatre
13:00
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14:30
Marius de Leeuw (Trinity College Dublin)
In this talk I will consider N=4 SYM in the presence of a codimension 1 defect. This defect CFT is dual to a certain probe D3-D5 brane set-up. I will introduce a framework for quantum computations in this non-trivial dCFT and use it to compute one- and two-point functions. I will discuss the tree-level and one-loop computations to the one-point function of the BPS vacuum state, finding perfect agreement with an earlier string-theory prediction. Second I will discuss two-point functions and their relation to the boundary conformal bootstrap equations and three-point functions in N=4 SYM.
16:00
Agata Smoktunowicz (University of Edinburgh)
In 2005, Wolfgang Rump discovered some connections between noncommutative ring theory and set theoretic solutions of the quantum Yang-Baxter equation. In particular, he showed that every nilpotent ring gives a highly non-trivial solution to the Yang-Baxter equation. In the first part of this talk we will present the introduction to this research area and explain how to obtain set-theoretic solutions from nilpotent rings, using Rump's theorems. In the second part we will present new solutions of the Reflection Equation. Our solutions work for both set-theoretic and parameter dependent solutions of the Reflection Equation and are obtained from nilpotent rings. This is a joint work with with Robert Weston and Leandro Vendramin.
Wednesday, 12 December 2018
ICMS Lecture Theatre
14:30
Benjamin Doyon (King's College London)
Hydrodynamics is a powerful framework for describing the large-scale behaviours of many-body systems in inhomogeneous, non-stationary states. Until recently, however, it was restricted to non-integrable models, as the assumption of local thermodynamic equilibrium is broken by the large amount of conserved charges afforded by integrability. I will describe how to generalise hydrodynamics to integrable systems. The resulting theory has a rich structure, and applies to large families of quantum and classical field theories, chains and gases. It allows us to solve experimentally relevant setups such as the famous ``quantum Newton's cradle" in cold atomic gases, and to evaluate exact non-equilibrium currents, correlations, Drude weights and full counting statistics of fluctuations in non-equilibrium transport. If time permits, I will explain the latter, which is based on new very general developments showing how linear fluctuating hydrodynamics gives access to the exact large deviation theory of ballistic transport.
16:00
Nabil Iqbal (Durham University)
Just as ordinary global symmetries are associated with a conserved particle number, quantum field theories with generalized global symmetries have a conserved density of higher-dimensional objects (such as strings, branes, etc.). I will discuss the emergence of gapless Goldstone modes when such a symmetry is spontaneously broken and will review how such a generalized symmetry plays an important role in characterizing the long-distance physics of familiar Maxwell electrodynamics in four dimensions. Many structures of ordinary symmetries admit a higher-form generalization; I will discuss some of these, focusing on the 4d analogues of familiar 2d concepts such as bosonization and (Abelian) Kac-Moody algebras. If time permits I will discuss the holographic realizations of such higher-form symmetries for field theories with gravity duals.
Wednesday, 23 January 2019
ICMS Seminar Room
14:30
José Figueroa O'Farrill (University of Edinburgh)
16:00
Ben McKeever (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz)
Wednesday, 6 February 2019
ICMS Seminar Room
14:30
Malcolm Perry (University of Cambridge)
16:00
Shahar Hadar (Harvard University)
Wednesday, 20 February 2019
ICMS Seminar Room
14:30
Joan Camps (University College London)
16:00
Benoit Vicedo (University of York)
Wednesday, 6 March 2019
ICMS Seminar Room
14:30
TBA
16:00
Sergey Cherkis (University of Arizona)
Wednesday, 20 March 2019
ICMS Seminar Room
14:30
Daniele Valeri (University of Glasgow)
16:00
Niels Obers (to be confirmed) (Niels Bohr Institute)
Wednesday, 3 April 2019
ICMS Seminar Room
14:30
Richard Davison (Cambridge)
16:00
Sebastian Lautz (King's College London)
Wednesday, 17 April 2019
TBA
14:30
Tamás Görbe (University of Leeds)
16:00
Alec Barns-Graham (Cambridge)
Wednesday, 1 May 2019
TBA
14:30
Cohl Furey (University of Cambridge)
16:00
Alejandra Castro (University of Amsterdam)
Wednesday, 15 May 2019
TBA
14:30
Andrew Royston
16:00
PhD comics take on seminars