Metastring Theory and Generalized Geometries (16rit683)


(University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Laurent Freidel (Perimeter Institute)

(Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)


The Banff International Research Station will host the "Metastring Theory and Generalized Geometries" workshop in Banff from Sunday March 20 to Sunday March 27, 2016.

Our conception of space-time is fundamental to the understanding of physical theories. The classical notion has evolved from the geometry of Euclid to the absolute space and time of Newton to the relative space-time of Einstein. Locality, the notion that physical theories should be built using interactions occurring at points in space-time (and not inherently over long distances), is a cornerstone of modern physics, underlying current thinking in nearly all applications of quantum field theory to the real world. In a quantum theory of gravity however, these classical ideas should be brought into question. It is then perhaps surprising that quantum physics has exerted little influence on our views on space and time — all of our deepest theories assume that quantum processes occur in the space-times of classical physics. Metastring theory is a quantum theory of gravity that extends the usual string theories in such a way that such questions can be addressed. The theory gives rise to a new quantum notion of space-time that we refer to as modular space-time and more generally involves a number of mathematically important geometric structures. This workshop aims to deepen our understanding of such geometric structures, and their interpretation in physics, in this context.

The Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS) is a collaborative Canada-US-Mexico venture that provides an environment for creative interaction as well as the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and methods within the Mathematical Sciences, with related disciplines and with industry. The research station is located at The Banff Centre in Alberta and is supported by Canada's Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), Alberta's Advanced Education and Technology, and Mexico's Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT).