This series consists of talks in the area of Superstring Theory.
The discovery of integrability in the large N limit of the prototypical realization of the AdS/CFT correspondence has raised the hope that the spectrum of scale dimensions in N=4 SYM (and strings in AdS_5 x S^5) might be known exactly, i.e. to all orders in the coupling constant. So far, most of the efforts focused on closed strings and periodic boundary conditions. In this talk I will discuss how these ideas are extended to open string and open boundary conditions.
We review basic properties of effective worldvolume theory describing the dynamics of Dirichlet branes in type II supergravity backgrounds and then show that the SL(2,R) symmetry of IIB supergravity allows for the existence of new supersymmetric 7-brane configurations called Q7-branes. The Q7-branes differ from the D7-branes, in particular, by their coupling to the dilaton, axion and to `magnetic\' gauge field duals thereof. The appearance of Q7-branes and their instanton duals may indicate the existence of a new, yet unexplored, perturbative vacuum of type IIB string theory.
In frustrated systems, competing interactions lead to complex phase diagrams and sometimes entirely new states of matter. Frustration often arises from the lattice geometry, leaving the system delicately balanced between a variety of possible orders. A number of normally weak effects can lead to a lifting of this degeneracy. For example, I will discuss how quantum fluctuations can stabilize a supersolid phase, where the system is at once both a crystal and a superfluid.
We will discuss the missing pieces in the understanding of the effective field theory description of string creation, the T-dual of the Hanany-Witten effect, both in the open and closed string picture. We explain the origin of the \'bare\' Chern-Simons term, so far added in by hand. There however remain unsettled issues concerning the need to modify the DBI action and the interpretation of this term in M-theory.
I will report on some work in progress with Dan Freed and Greg Moore. In an orientifold background, D-brane charge takes values in a certain twisted version of KR Theory. Moreover, there is a nontrivial background charge (\'tadpole\'). Up \'til now, this background charge has only been calculated rationally -- i.e., ignoring torsion. We derive a formula for it, over the integers. Only after \'inverting 2\', does the charge localize to the fixed point sets of the orientifold action, and we can give a compact formula for it.
We discuss recent developments in the study of black holes and similar compact objects in string theory. The focus is on how these solutions are effected by higher-derivative terms in an effective action. The setting of this investigation is an off-shell formulation of five-dimensional supergravity, including terms of order four-derivatives whose precise form are determined by embedding this theory in M-theory.