Graduate Program

Students interested in working in Fields, Strings, and Gravity topics are encouraged to contact the faculty for potential opportunities. The group expects students to be familiar with the workings of Quantum Field Theory, Gravity, and elements of String Theory. The former two topics are covered under the current Physics department courses PHY 230A, 230B, 230C, and 260, respectively.

There will be in due course, designated FSG courses, but for the present the courses will be taught as special topics (PHY 250).

The offerings for the past couple of years are detailed below.

FSG Graduate Courses

Academic year 2017-2018

1. Advanced General Relavity (Winter 2018): Veronika Hubeny

The course will cover classic results on global structures of spacetimes, singularity theorems in classical general relativity in the first part of the course. The second part will focus on developments related to the generalized second law, quantum focussing conjectures, and recent proofs of energy theorems for quantum fields in curved spacetime.

Pre-requisite: knowledge of classical general relativity (PHY 260 or equivalent)

2. Conformal Field Theory (Winter 2018): Mukund Rangamani

The course will analyze quantum field theories exhibiting conformal symmetries in various dimensions. Topics to be covered include, representations of the conformal algebra, constraints from the symmetry on physical observables, physical applications in the theory of critical phenomena. Much of the focus will be on two dimensional systems, though we will touch upon higher dimensional CFTs and superconformal theories.

Pre-requisite: basic knowledge of quantum field theory (PHY 230A and B or equivalent)

3. Superstrings and D-branes (Spring 2018): Jaroslav Trnka

The course will describe the perturbative worldsheet theory of superstrings building partly on the technology from the CFT course. Topics to covered include quantization and superstring spectrum, low energy dynamics in terms of supergravity and D-branes. The later part of the course will focus on D-brane dualities and M-theory.

Pre-requisite: quantum field theory and basics of bosonic string theory

Academic year 2016-2017

1. Black holes (Winter 2017): Veronika Hubeny

The course will cover advanced topics in black holes, describing various exact solutions in across dimensions, their causal structure, and an introduction to black hole thermodynamics.

Pre-requisite: knowledge of classical general relativity (Physics 260 or equivalent)

2. String Theory (Winter 2017): Jaroslav Trnka

The course will describe the perturbative worldsheet theory of bosonic string. Topics to covered include quantization and the string spectrum for open and closed strings, and the low energy dynamics in terms of general relativity.

Pre-requisite: basic knowledge of quantum field theory (PHY 230A and B or equivalent)

3. QFT and Representation Theory (Winter 2017): Tudor Dimofte

The course will mathematical aspects of QFT, focusing on topological field theories. Topics to be covered include supersymmetric quantum mechanics, (2,2) theories in 2d, and 3d N=2 and N=4 theories.

Pre-requisite: basic knowledge of quantum field theory (PHY 230A and B or equivalent)

4. The AdS/CFT correspondence (Spring 2017): Mukund Rangamani

The course will introduce the basic ideas behind the AdS/CFT correspondence and describe various applications. Topics to be covered include, large N field theories, motivation for the correspondence from D-brane dynamics, and developing the basic dictionary between the CFT and gravitational dynamics in AdS spacetimes (correlation functions, Wilson loops, entanglement entropy, etc). The second half of the course will focus on applications of the correspondence to understanding QCD dynamics (AdS/QCD), phases of compressible phases of matter (AdS/CMT), hydrodynamics (fluid/gravity), and the physics of black holes and quantum gravity (bulk reconstruction via entanglement).

Pre-requisite: basic knowledge of quantum field theory (PHY 230A and B or equivalent) and general relativity and black holes (PHY 260 or equivalent)