From Strings to the Standard Model via Algebraic Geometry


Ron Donagi

University of Pennsylvania

Northeastern University

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Talk at 4:30 p.m. in 509 Lake Hall

Tea at 4:00 p.m. in 544 Nightingale Hall

Pretalk at 3:00 p.m. in 509 Lake Hall: F-theory for mathematicians


Abstract:   The Standard Model of particle physics is the extremely successful theory of all known matter particles and the three forces that act on them: electromagnetism and the weak and strong nuclear forces. String theory is an attempt to incorporate also the fourth force, gravity. It produces a bewildering array of possible physical universes - on the order of 10^500, according to some estimates. A long standing question has been whether any of these models can look anything like the real world. This means that it should produce the same spectrum of particles and forces as are known from the MSSM (the Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model), as well as the same interactions among them and the correct values for various constants in the theory. Using techniques from algebraic geometry, the first known string model with precisely the MSSM spectrum and with realistic interactions has been constructed recently. This talk is meant for mathematicians - no familiarity with the physics is assumed. We will translate the basic physics concepts into mathematical language, and will outline the tools used in the recent solution - these come from representation theory, topology, and especially algebraic geometry.

Here are some directions to Northeastern University. Lake Hall and Nightingale Hall can be best accessed from the entrance on the corner of Greenleaf Street and Leon Street. The two halls are connected, with no well-defined boundary in between. In particular, 509 Lake Hall is on the same corridor as 544 Nightingale Hall.

There is free parking available for people coming to the Colloquium at Northeastern's visitor parking (Rennaisance Garage). The entrance is from Columbus Avenue. If coming by car, you should park there and take the parking talon. After the lecture, you may pick up the payment coupon from Andrei Zelevinsky.

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Posted:: September 27, 2009    URL: