Symmetry TFTs from String Theory

17 January 2022
Federico Bonetti

The global symmetries of a d-dimensional quantum field theory (QFT), and their ’t Hooft anomalies, are conveniently captured by a topological field theory (TFT) in (d+1) dimensions, which we may refer to as the Symmetry TFT of the given d-dimensional QFT. This point of view has a vast range of applicability: it encompasses both ordinary symmetries, as well as generalized symmetries. In this talk, I will discuss systematic methods to compute the Symmetry TFT for QFTs realized by M-theory on a singular, non-compact space X. The desired Symmetry TFT is extracted from the topological couplings of 11d supergravity, via reduction on the space L, the boundary of X. The formalism of differential cohomology allows us to include discrete symmetries originating from torsion in the cohomology of L. I will illustrate this framework in two classes of examples: M-theory on an ALE space (engineering 7d SYM theory); M-theory on Calabi-Yau cones (engineering 5d superconformal field theories).

  • String Theory Seminar