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Superstrings, higher gauge theory, and division algebras

Nov 23
Group Seminar
6:00 pm o'clock to 7:30 pm o'clock
John Huerta (Australian National University)
SR 02.729

Recent work on higher gauge theory suggests the presence of ‘higher symmetry’ in superstring theory. Just as gauge theory describes the physics of point particles using Lie groups, Lie algebras and bundles, higher gauge theory is a generalization that describes the physics of strings and membranes using categorified Lie groups, Lie algebras and bundles. In this talk, we will summarize the mathematics of a higher gauge theory. We then show how to construct the categorified Lie algebras relevent to superstring theory by a systematic use of the normed division algebras. At the end, we will touch on how this leads to a categorified supergroup extending the Poincare supergroup in the mysterious dimensions where the classical superstring makes sense—3, 4, 6 and 10.