Past Relativity Seminar

17 January 2012
12:00
Prof Graeme Segal
Abstract

The WZW functional for a map from a surface to a Lie group has a role in the theory of harmonic maps, and it also arises as the determinant of a d-bar operator on the surface, as the action functional for a 2-dimensional quantum field theory, as the partition function of 3-dimensional Chern-Simons theory on a manifold with boundary, and as the norm-squared of a state-vector. It is intimately related to the quantization of the symplectic manifold of flat bundles on the surface, a fascinating test-case for different approaches to geometric quantization. It is also interesting as an example of interpolation between commutative and noncommutative geometry. I shall try to give an overview of the area, focussing on the aspects which are still not well understood.

22 November 2011
12:00
Abstract
I shall start with an idea (somewhat heuristic) that I call `Thermal Holography' and use that to probe the thermal behaviour of quantum horizons, i.e., without using any classical geometry, but using ordinary statistical mechanics with Gaussian fluctuations. This approach leads to a criterion for thermal stability for thermally active horizons with an Isolated horizon as an equilibrium configuration, whose (microcanonical) entropy has been computed using Loop Quantum Gravity (I shall outline this computation). As fiducial checks, we briefly look at some very well-known classical black hole metrics for their thermal stability and recover known results. Finally, I shall speculate about a possible link between our stability criterion and the Chandrasekhar upper bound for the mass of stable neutron stars.
21 June 2011
12:00
Dr Gang Yang
Abstract
There have been significant progress in the calculation of scattering amplitudes in N=4 SYM. In this talk I will consider `form factors', which are defined not only with on-shell asymptotic states but also with one off-shell operator inserted. Such quantities are in some sense the hybrid of on-shell quantities (such as scattering amplitudes) and off-shell quantities (such as correlation functions). We will see that form factors inherit many nice properties of scattering amplitudes, in particular we will consider their supersymmetrization and the dual picture.

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