The Many Hats of String Theory
Tuesday, October 13, 2009 - 3:15pm - 4:30pm
Leopoldo Pando Zayas, Associate Professor
Department of Physics, The University of Michigan
String theory naturally came about as an attempt to describe strong hadronic interactions. Soon after its insertion it was rightfully dethroned by Quantum Chromodynamics – the theory of strong interactions. In the early 80’s string theory reemerged as a consistent theory of quantum gravity and became the leading candidate for a theory of everything, that is, a theory unifying the Standard Model of particles and gravity. More recently, however, string theory has played a crucial role as a dual description of gauge theories, that is a description of gauge theories in terms of gravity fields. This development completes a full circle back to its origins. In its latest act, string theory attempts to answer some questions of strongly correlated system — the bread and butter of condensed matter physics.