Monday 22 January 2007

String School @ CERN

Last week CERN was hosting the RTN Winter School on Strings, Supergravity and Gauge Theories coorganized by CERN and the University of Neuchâtel. I already reported about wonderful lectures on LHC phenomenology by Joe Lykken. Another fantastic set of lectures on dynamical supersymmetry breaking was given by Nathan Seiberg from Princeton. He started with simple examples of spontaneous supersymmetry breaking, stressing the role of R-symmetry. Then he showed how the necessary structures can by generated in a calculable way by strong dynamics. He also discussed his recent breakthrough paper concerning supersymmetry breaking in metastable vacua, which opens the road to simpler realistic models. I'm waiting impatiently for the lecture notes. To kill time, there is the old review by Intriligator and Seiberg.

The strictly string theoretical lectures were less illuminating. David Mateos from Santa Barbara talked about the AdS/CFT, and about its relations to quark-gluon plasma in particular. This topic is hot and interesting and David certainly conveyed a lot of his enthusiasm. However his presentation was far from being clear and logical. This kind of lecturing is sometimes referred to as a "google talk": there was nothing you couldn't google out within 5 minutes.
The lectures on string cosmology by Cliff Burgess (Mc Master University) can be briefly characterized: chaotic and confusing. Finally, Brian Wecht (MIT) covered non-geometric flux compactifications; anybody who listened to that, please step out ;-).

The video recordings of all lectures are available here.

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