06/12/2011, 15:00 — 16:00 — Room P3.10, Mathematics Building
John Huerta, Australian National University, Canberra
Superstrings, higher gauge theory, and division algebrasRecent work on higher gauge theory suggests the presence of 'higher symmetry' in superstring theory. Just as gauge theory describes the physics of point particles using Lie groups, Lie algebras and bundles, higher gauge theory is a generalization that describes the physics of strings and membranes using categorified Lie groups, Lie algebras and bundles. In this talk, we will summarize the mathematics of a higher gauge theory. We then show how to construct the categorified Lie algebras relevant to superstring theory by a systematic use of the normed division algebras. At the end, we will touch on how this leads to a categorified supergroup extending the Poincare supergroup in the mysterious dimensions where the classical superstring makes sense — 3, 4, 6 and 10.