Quantum Fields and Strings

This series consists of talks in the area of Quantum Fields and Strings.

Seminar Series Events/Videos

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Tuesday Oct 20, 2020
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There are several important conceptual and computational questions concerning path integrals in QM and QFT, which have recently been approached from new perspectives motivated by "resurgent asymptotics", a novel mathematical formalism that seeks to unify perturbative and non-perturbative physics. I will discuss the basic ideas behind the connections between resurgent asymptotics and physics, ranging from differential equations to phase transitions and QFT.

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Tuesday Oct 13, 2020

 I will discuss how central extensions of charge algebras in gravitational theories with null boundaries arise from an anomalous transformation of the boundary term in the gravitational action. This parallels the way in which the holographic Weyl anomaly appears in AdS/CFT, with the ambiguity in the normalization of the null generator being the analogue of the choice of Weyl frame.

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Tuesday Oct 06, 2020
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We show that a naïve application of the quantum extremal surface (QES) prescription can lead to paradoxical results and must be corrected at leading order. The corrections arise when there is a second QES (with strictly larger generalized entropy at leading order than the minimal QES), together with a large amount of highly incompressible bulk entropy between the two surfaces. We trace the source of the corrections to a failure of the assumptions used in the replica trick derivation of the QES prescription, and show that a more careful derivation correctly computes the corrections.

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Tuesday Sep 29, 2020
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In this talk, we review an approach to describing cosmological physics using ordinary AdS/CFT, where the cosmological physics is the effective description of an end-of-the-world brane which cuts off the second asymptotic region of a two-sided black hole. The worldvolume geometry of the brane is an FRW big-bang/big-crunch spacetime. Infavorable circumstances, the brane acts as a Randall-Sundrum Planck brane so that gravity localizes. We describe a microscopic construction for such an end-of-the-world brane with localized gravity in AdS/CFT, starting from N=4 SYM theory.

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Tuesday Sep 22, 2020
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Entanglement entropy quantifies the amount of uncertainty of a quantum state. For quantum fields in curved space, entanglement entropy of the quantum field theory degrees of freedom is well-defined for a fixed background geometry. In this work, we propose a generalization of the quantum field theory entanglement entropy by including dynamical gravity.

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Tuesday Sep 15, 2020
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Abstract: Large N matrix quantum mechanics are central to holographic duality but not solvable in the most interesting cases. We show that the spectrum and simple expectation values in these theories can be obtained numerically via a `bootstrap' methodology. In this approach, operator expectation values are related by symmetries -- such as time translation and SU(N) gauge invariance -- and then bounded with certain positivity constraints. We first demonstrate how this method efficiently solves the conventional quantum anharmonic oscillator.

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Tuesday May 26, 2020
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We investigate putting 2+1 free and holographic theories on a product of time with a curved compact 2-d space. We then vary the geometry of the space, keeping the area fixed, at zero/finite temperature, and measure the Casimir/free energy respectively. I will begin by discussing the free theory for a Dirac fermion or scalar field on deformations of the round 2-sphere. I will discuss how the Dirac theory may arise in physical systems such as monolayer graphene. For small deformations we solve analytically using perturbation theory.

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Tuesday May 19, 2020
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I will give an overview of holographic cosmology and discuss recent results and work in progress.

In holographic cosmology time evolution is mapped to inverse RG flow of the dual QFT. As such this framework naturally explains the arrow of time via the

monotonicity of RG flows. Properties of the RG flow are also responsible for the holographic resolution of the classic puzzles of hot big bang cosmology, such as the horizon problem, the flatness problem and the relic problem.

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Thursday May 14, 2020
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Hawking famously observed that the formation and evaporation of black holes appears to violate the unitary evolution of quantum mechanics. Nonetheless, it has been recently discovered that a signature of unitarity, namely the "Page curve" describing the evolution of entropy, can be recovered from semiclassical gravity. This result relies on "replica wormholes" appearing in the gravitational path integral, which are examples of spacetime wormholes studied more than 30 years ago and related to interactions with closed "baby" universes.

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Tuesday May 05, 2020
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We compute the partition function of 2D Jackiw-Teitelboim (JT) gravity at finite cutoff in two ways: (i) via an exact evaluation of the Wheeler-DeWitt wave-functional in radial quantization and (ii) through a direct computation of the Euclidean path integral. Both methods deal with Dirichlet boundary conditions for the metric and the dilaton. In the first approach, the radial wavefunctionals are found by reducing the constraint equations to two first order functional derivative equations that can be solved exactly, including factor ordering.

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