This award funds the research activities of Professors Howard Georgi and Cumrun Vafa at the Physics Department of Harvard University, along with post-docs and students. The area of research covered by this project includes two broad classes: One in particle physics and the other in string theory. The particle physics side will involve the development of a new idea in describing the high energy scattering of particles using the idea that the aftermath of collisions involves a shell of energy which emanates from the collision site of the particles. This is an area which is currently being developed by Georgi and his students. In string theory, the fundamental objects are strings, not particles. All string theories exist in a higher number of dimensions, and the method of reducing these to four dimensions can lead to theories that can be compared with experiments. Vafa will be continuing his work on better understanding of these theories, including the various methods of reducing the numbers of dimensions.

Georgi's work in particle physics will involve the development of LSET (Light-Shell effective theory). The hope is that this approach will give a different effective theory involving high energy scatterings, of the type encountered at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), complementary to the Soft Collinear Effective Theory approach currently used, and may lead to new methods of analyzing the large number of particles produced in these collisions. On the string theory front Vafa will be continuing his work on better understanding of superconformal theories which have been discovered to exist in 5 and 6 dimensions. These theories involve tensionless strings. Computation of their partition functions have been developed recently and their relation to (twistorial) topological string is the major focus of this effort.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Physics (PHY)
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Keith Dienes
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Harvard University
United States
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