String Theory

Project leader: Marcos Mariño (University of Geneva)
Niklas Beisert (ETH Zurich)
Matthias Blau (University of Bern)
Ruth Durrer (University of Geneva)
Matthias Gaberdiel (ETH Zurich)
Christoph Keller (ETH Zurich)
Wolfgang Lerche (CERN)
Marcos Mariño (University of Geneva)
Rahul Pandharipande (ETH Zurich)
João Penedones (EPFL)
Susanne Reffert (University of Bern)
Julian Sonner (University of Geneva)

String theory is a complex network of ideas and techniques with four main lines of research: first of all, string theory, as a “theory of everything”, provides a framework to construct unified models of particles and interactions beyond the Standard Model.

Secondly, string theory is a consistent theory of quantum gravity, and therefore makes it possible to address fundamental questions in this area, such as the origin of black hole entropy. On the conceptual level, it provides new insights into the nature of “quantum geometry”.

Thirdly, thanks to the so-called AdS/CFT correspondence, string theory provides an “effective” theory of strongly interacting systems like gauge theories and, more recently, condensed matter systems.

Finally, string theory has a rich and sophisticated mathematical structure making contact with current developments in representation theory, integrable systems, differential geometry, low-dimensional topology, and algebraic geometry, and it has been a source of inspiration and of conjectures and results in these domains. For example, “string geometry”, which extends the notion of conventional spacetime geometry, has led to new developments like quantum cohomology and mirror symmetry, with a deep impact on modern geometry.