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April 10, 20232:00 pm – 3:00 pm (CDT)

String Landscape and String Universality in High Dimensions – Discrete Aspects


Hao Zhang (University of Pennsylvania)



Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics & Astronomy

College Station, Texas 77843

Event Details

Do all consistent quantum theories of gravity come from string theory? This question is called string universality, which will be the main focus of the talk. Answering this question requires us to (a) classify all string vacua in a particular dimensionality with a specified number of supercharges and (b) look for consistency constraints of supergravity theories that do not rely on any particular string construction.
We focus on d = 7, 8, 9 supergravity theories with 16 supercharges. We emphasize two discrete aspects of these theories: generalized global symmetries (encoding the data of extended objects) and frozen singularities (indicating some non-geometric regime of string compactification). We give an exhaustive classification of IIB supergravity theory in 8D, particularly emphasizing these discrete aspects. On the other hand, we present a consistency condition involving their higher-form symmetries and see that they rule out many global structures of the gauge group in 8D supergravity theory. One can apply such a constraint to rederive a known geometric constraint on elliptically fibered K3 physically. Time permitting, we will briefly review a few other results on consistency conditions of such supergravities.

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