Heterotic vacua, defined with a holomorphic bundle and connection satisfying hermitian Yang-Mills, realise four-dimensional chiral gauge theories. We exploit the rich interplay between four-dimensional physics, supersymmetry and geometry to construct a natural Kaehler metric for the moduli space, with a shockingly simple Kaehler potential. Along the way, we discover a natural geometric structure for the heterotic moduli.

# Past String Theory Seminar

Recently, there has been some progress in examining mirror symmetry beyond Calabi-Yau threefolds. I will discuss how this is related to flux vacua of type II supergravity on eight-dimensional manifolds equipped with SU(4)-structure. It will be shown that the natural framework to describe such vacua is generalized complex geometry. Two classes of type IIB solutions will be given, one of which is complex, the other symplectic, and I will describe in what sense these are mirror to one another.

The black hole information paradox comes about because of the classical no-hair theorems for black holes. I will discuss soft black hole hair in electrodynamics and in gravitation. Then some speculations on its relevance to the in formation paradox are presented.

We establish a correspondence between the ABC Conjecture and N=4 super-Yang-Mills theory. This is achieved by combining three ingredients:

(i) Elkies' method of mapping ABC-triples to elliptic curves in his demonstration that ABC implies Mordell/Faltings;

(ii) an explicit pair of elliptic curve and associated Belyi map given by Khadjavi-Scharaschkin; and

(iii) the fact that the bipartite brane-tiling/dimer model for a gauge theory with toric moduli space is a particular dessin d'enfant in the sense of Grothendieck.

We explore this correspondence for the highest quality ABC-triples as well as large samples of random triples. The Conjecture itself is mapped to a statement about the fundamental domain of the toroidal compactification of the string realization of N=4 SYM.

I will present several new 3d N=2 dualities with super-potentials involving monopole operators. Some of the theories that I will discuss describe systems of D3 branes ending on pq-webs. In these cases 3d mirror symmetry is a consequence of S-duality.

It was discovered in the 1970s that black holes are thermodynamic objects carrying entropy, thus suggesting that they are really an ensemble of microscopic states. This idea has been realized in a remarkable manner in string theory, wherein one can describe these ensembles in a class of models. These ensembles are known, however, to contain configurations other than isolated black holes, and it remains an outstanding problem to precisely isolate a black hole in the microscopic ensemble. I will describe how this problem can be solved completely in N=4 string theory. The solution involves surprising relations to mock modular forms -- a class of functions first discovered by S. Ramanujan about 95 years ago.

The possibility of a landscape of metastable vacua raises the question of what fraction of vacua are truly long lived. Naively any would-be vacuum state has many nearby decay paths, and all possible decays must be suppressed. An interesting model of this phenomena consists of N scalars with a random potential of fourth order. We show that the scaling of the typical minimal bounce action with N is readily understood. We discuss the extension to more realistic landscape models as well as the effects of gravity.

A large number of examples of compact G2 manifolds, relevant to supersymmetric compactifications of M-Theory to four dimensions, can be constructed by forming a twisted connected sum of two appropriate building blocks times a circle. These building blocks, which are appropriate K3-fibred threefolds, are shown to have a natural and elegant construction in terms of tops, which parallels the construction of Calabi-Yau manifolds via reflexive polytopes.

I will consider higher derivative corrections to the graviton 3-point coupling within a weakly coupled theory of gravity. Lorentz invariance allows further structures beyond that of Einstein’s theory. I will argue that these structures are constrained by causality, and show that the problem cannot be fixed by adding conventional particles with spins J ≤ 2, but adding an infinite tower of massive particles with higher spins. Implications of this result in the context of AdS/CFT, quantum gravity in asymptotically flat space-times, and non-Gaussianity features of primordial gravitational waves are discussed.

It is unknown whether a bound on axion field ranges exists within quantum gravity. We study axion field ranges using extended supersymmetry, in particular allowing an analysis within strongly coupled regions of moduli space. We apply this strategy to Calabi-Yau compactifications with one and two Kähler moduli. We relate the maximally allowable decay constant to geometric properties of the underlying Calabi-Yau geometry. In all examples we find a maximal field range close to the reduced Planck mass (with the largest field range being 3.25 $M_P$). On this perspective, field ranges relate to the intersection and instanton numbers of the underlying Calabi-Yau geometry.