A class of theories that attempt to explain all existing particles (including force carriers) as vibrational modes of extended objects, such as the 1-dimensional fundamental string. PLEASE DO NOT USE THIS TAG for non-relativistic material strings, such as, e.g., a guitar string.

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Does string theory provide a physical regulator for Standard Model divergencies?

In other question, Ron Maimon says that he thinks string theory is the physical regulator. I did not know that string theory regularize divergencies. So, Q1: How does string theory regularize the ...
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2k views

Other possible theories (other than string theory) which are generalizations of the standard model with incorporation of gravity

The only finite mathematical framework that incorporates both the standard model of particle physics and gravity under one umbrella that I am aware of is string theory. I would like to know whether ...
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211 views

Embedding of $F(4)$ in $OSp(8|4)$?

Is the superconformal algebra in five dimensions, $F(4)$, a subalgebra of the (maximal) six-dimensional superconformal algebra $OSp(8|4)$?
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140 views

Is there a background independent closed string field theory?

Analogous to the background independent open string field theory by Witten. If there isn't, what are the main stumbling blocks preventing its construction?
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120 views

Global symmetry in string theory

It is often stated that in quantum gravity only charges coupled to gauge fields can be conserved. This is because of the no hair theorem. If a charge is coupled to a gauge field then when it falls ...
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712 views

Geometric/Visual Interpretation of Virasoro Algebra

I've been trying to gain some intuition about Virasoro Algebras, but have failed so far. The Mathematical Definition seems to be clear (as found in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virasoro_algebra). I ...
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429 views

Heterotic string as worldvolume theory of two coincident 9-branes in 27 dimensions?

The heterotic string is a combination of right-moving excitations from a D=10 superstring and left-moving excitations from a D=26 bosonic string, with the left-movers behaving as if the extra 16 ...
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157 views

Confusion about two definitions of anomalies

As I am currently studying for an exam about quantum field theory and string theory, I got confused about the notion of "anomalies" and how they are actually defined. Similar questions have already ...
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171 views

What are the implications for the AdS/Cft program if AdS is unstable?

To my understanding recent progress in the study of the non linear stability of AdS spacetime suggest that $AdS$ might be unstable. If this is true, what are the physical and mathematical ...
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285 views

Quantization of strings, string Fock space and transition to QFT

I am not an expert of string theory and am quite uncertain about the basic ideas of string theory that I am going to ask about. I would appreciate some hints of more experienced physicists. What I am ...
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453 views

How do I find constraints on the Nambu-Goto Action?

Let $X^\mu (t,\sigma ^1,\ldots ,\sigma ^p)$ be a $p$-brane in space-time and let $g$ be the metric on $X^\mu$ induced from the ambient space-time metric. Then, the Nambu-Goto action on $X^\mu$ is ...
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372 views

“finite” QFTs and short-distance singularities and vanishing beta functions

I am not sure that I can frame this question coherently enough - it springs from various things in QFT that I have recently been thinking and reading about. May be these thoughts are mis-directed but ...
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344 views

Can the connectivity of space change in string theory?

A flop transition changes the second homotopy group of a Calabi-Yau compactifation, but not the fundamental group or the number of connected components. Can the number of connected spatial components ...
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262 views

Which values of the Riemann zeta funtion at negative arguments come up in physics?

For my bachelor's thesis, I am investigating Divergent Series. Apart from the mathematical theory behind them (which I find fascinating), I am also interested in their applications in physics. ...
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646 views

String theory from a mathematical point of view

I have a great interest in the area of string theory, but since I am more focused on mathematics, I was wondering if there is any book out there that covers mathematical aspects of string theory. I ...
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164 views

Does the complex 3-sphere have a complex structure modulus?

This question has a flavor which is more mathematical than physical, however it is about a mathematical physics article and I suspect my misunderstanding occurs because the precise mathematical ...
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2k views

What is the physical significance of the dilaton in string theory?

Strings always have a dilaton in their spectrum. Its a scalar field (so presumably no spin), and so far a hypothetical particle. What is its physical significance?
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502 views

Advanced topics in string theory

I'm looking for texts about topics in string theory that are "advanced" in the sense that they go beyond perturbative string theory. Specifically I'm interested in String field theory (including ...
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890 views

Is the “Great Attractor” an indicator of the “Multiverse”?

I have heard a bit about the Great Attractor (the gravitational anomaly that seems to be "sweeping" our universe in one direction). Someone (and forgive me, I do not recall the specifics) has ...
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885 views

Source Theory - Alternative to QFT

I am a graduate physics student. I have started learning QFT. As a project my professor has asked me to take up and learn Source Theory, seems an alternative to regular QFT. How exactly is this ...
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427 views

Is there stringy Morse theory?

This question is pretty vague and open. I'm just curious if anyone has considered this. Morse theory has a nice physical formulation: a Morse function can be thought of as a potential, so the ...
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675 views

What are some significant contributions of string theory to other fields of physics?

What are some contributions that string theory has made to other branches of physics/science (other than research in string theory)? I'm looking for specifics, for example mentioning what string ...
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112 views

Why isn't there heterotic holographic QCD?

I think the question speaks for itself... Top-down holographic QCD, like Sakai-Sugimoto, always involves the Type II string. There are one or two papers on hQCD using the Type 0 string. But I can't ...
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344 views

Question about associative 3-cycles on G2 manifolds

Let $X$ be a manifold with $G_2$ holonomy and $\Phi$ be the fundamental associative 3-form on $X$. Let $*\Phi$ be the dual co-associative 4-form on $X$. Now consider a particular associative 3-cycle ...
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Dirac, Weyl and Majorana Spinors

To get to the point - what's the defining differences between them? Alas, my current understanding of a spinor is limited. All I know is that they are used to describe fermions (?), but I'm not sure ...
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363 views

How are low energy effective actions derived in string theory?

For example the eq 2.1 here with regards to Type IIB. Unless I am terribly missing/misreading something Polchinski doesn't ever seem to derive these low energy supergravity actions. I would like to ...
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737 views

Is String Theory proven to be finite?

I read Lee Smolin's book "The trouble with physics" and the book says that the finiteness of string theory ( or string pertubative theory) is by no means a proven mathematical fact, despite that the ...
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631 views

Is Conformal Symmetry Local or Global?

I'm just brushing up on a bit of CFT, and I'm trying to understand whether conformal symmetry is local or global in the physics sense. Obviously when the metric is viewed as dynamical then the ...
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139 views

About the stability of the ground state of the bosonic string

In Polchinski's string theory vol 1, p. 23, it is said "It is a complicated question whether the bosonic string has any stable vacuum, and the answer is not known." The book was published on 1998. ...
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782 views

What is kappa symmetry?

On page 180 David McMohan explains that to obtain a (spacetime) supersymmetric action for a GS superstring one has to add to the bosonic part $$ S_B = -\frac{1}{2\pi}\int d^2 \sigma ...
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873 views

The Chern-Simons/WZW correspondence

Can someone tell me a reference which proves this? - as to how does the bulk partition function of Chern-Simons' theory get completely determined by the WZW theory (its conformal blocks) on its ...
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984 views

How can string theory work without supersymmetry?

This question is inspired from reading Mitchell Porter's nice answer here to a question asking why supersymmetry should be expected naturally. Among other things, he explains that since weak scale ...
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361 views

String theory - OPE and primary operators

First, a disclaimer: I am new to Physics SE, and I am primarily a mathematician, not a physicist. I apologise in advance for the possibly poor quality of the question, any and thank you for your ...
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277 views

Who added $\frac{3}{2} \partial^2 c$ to the virasoro BRST current (and why)?

I've been looking at the literature on quantizing the bosonic string, and I noticed that there was a change made in the definition of the BRST current around 1992. However, I haven't found any ...
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91 views

Matrix geometry for F-strings

A stack of N D-branes has the strange property that the traverse D-brane coordinates are matrix-valued. When the matrices commute, they can be interpreted as ordinary coordinates for N ...
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324 views

Do exact beta functions exist in (super)gravity theories and string theory?

An exact beta function exists for Super-Yang-Mills theories in 4D without matter - the so-called NSVZ beta function. Does a similar exact beta-function exist in gravity or supergravity theories? In ...
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238 views

What happens when two D-branes annihilate?

What happens when two D-branes annihilate? Do we get a radiation of strings? Thanks in advance
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808 views

Dual conformal symmetry and spin networks in ABJM

In this question, I would love to hear some independent opinions on an issue I asked Juan Maldacena, Nathan Berkovits, Dan Jafferis, and others, but all the physicists may be missing something. The ...
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228 views

geometric quantization of the moduli space of abelian Chern-Simons theory

I wish to understand the statement in this paper more precisely: (1). Any 3d Topological quantum field theories(TQFT) associates an inner-product vector space $H_{\Sigma}$ to a Riemann surface ...
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113 views

F-Theory on Calabi-Yau manifolds

Why F-theory picks Calabi-Yau manifolds as backgrounds? Is there a similar argument like the one in heterotic/IIA,B which singles out Calabi-Yau manifolds based on the requirement of space-time ...
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537 views

Clarification on “central charge equals number of degrees of freedom”

It's often stated that the central charge c of a CFT counts the degrees of freedom: it adds up when stacking different fields, decreases as you integrate out UV dof from one fixed point to another, ...
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230 views

does AdS/CFT implies that there is an CFT in physical horizons?

so my rough understanding is that the AdS/CFT duality is some sort of isomorphism between an N dimensional gravitational theory and a N-1 dimensional conformal field theory on the boundary. The ...
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438 views

Derivation of the basic equation for Witten diagrams

I could understand the derivation of the "bulk-to-boundary" propagators ($K$) for scalar fields in $AdS$ but the iterative definition of the "bulk-to-bulk" propagators is not clear to me. On is ...
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437 views

Mathematically rather than physically speaking, is there something “special” about 10 (or 11) dimensions?

As I understand it, string theory (incorporating bosons and fermions) "works" in $9+1=10$ spacetime dimensions. In the context of dual resonance theory, I've read descriptions of why that is ...
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328 views

Noether currents in QFT

I am trying to organize my knowledge of Noether's theorem in QFT. There are several questions I would like to have an answer to. In classical field theory, Noether's theorem states that for each ...
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323 views

About the general expression of trace anomaly and CFT partition functions

I have put up a question here, http://mathoverflow.net/questions/139685/proof-of-the-general-expression-for-anomaly-in-a-cft-and-its-partition-function Here I am putting up a slightly different ...
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500 views

Is eternal inflation and the multiverse compatible with causal patch complementarity?

The argument for eternal inflation is we have some patch of metastable vacuum with positive cosmological constant, and so it expands exponentially a la de Sitter. Most of the patch decays to something ...
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564 views

What's with Mandelstam's argument that only linear regge trajectories are stable?

While thinking about how to answer a "describe string theory" question, I remembered an old argument of Stanley Mandelstam's that linear Regge trajectories implies stability. I never fully understood ...
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549 views

Why does tachyon arise in bosonic string theory?

I am looking for precise mathematical and physical reasons which cause the presence of tachyon in bosonic string theory(specially closed bosonic string theory). Has it to do with the specific form of ...
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498 views

Introductory examples of AdS/CFT duality

I would like to know, what are the simplest/starting/basic examples that are typically used to introduce students to how AdS/CFT really works? (not the MAGOO paper, as I am not sure it has concrete ...