Speaker: Jim Halverson, University of Pennsylvania
Abstract: Though string theory provides a unified framework for physics which generically gives rise to gauge theories and quantum gravity, the existence of a landscape of string vacua makes it difficult to make contact with our world, even in principle. Solving the problem would ultimately require having a complete understanding of string theoretic moduli spaces, perhaps including dynamics, but the appropriate first steps are unclear. In this talk I will discuss three approaches to the problem. I will discuss generic issues of computing physical effects across the landscape by casting them into the language of diophantine equations and relating to Hilbert's 10th problem. I will then discuss phenomenological implications of a class of gauge theories very strongly motivated by string theory, including constraints on chiral matter which are necessary for string consistency but apparently do not appear in field theory. If time permits, I also plan to discuss important connections between non-perturbative effects, gauge theories, and moduli space that are crucial for understanding the landscape.