Quarks, Flux Tubes and String Theory Without Calculus

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About Simons Foundation Lectures

Simons Foundation Lectures are free public colloquia related to basic science and mathematics. These high-level talks are intended for professors, students, postdocs and business professionals, but interested people from the metropolitan area are welcome as well.
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The theory of strings started as an attempt to describe the forces holding quarks together. Important remnants of that idea survive in the form of the flux tubes of quantum chromodynamics and their description as “strings” in the gauge-string duality. Applications to quark-gluon plasmas have yielded some of the most quantitative comparisons of string theory with experimental data. For example, the friction generated when a string scrapes along a black hole horizon can be used to estimate drag force on quarks in a thermal medium. More recently, related ideas have appeared in a more mathematical context, providing a formulation of classical string dynamics that avoids calculus and does not depend on the continuous structure of spacetime.

About the Speaker

Steve Gubser received his Ph.D. from Princeton University, where his advisor was Igor Klebanov. After working as a post doc at the Harvard Society of Fellows and as a faculty member at California Institute of Technology, he returned to Princeton University, where he is presently a professor and the associate chair for undergraduates in the Department of Physics. He is one of the originators of the gauge-string duality and has worked on its applications to nuclear and condensed matter physics. Gubser is also the author of The Little Book of String Theory, a nontechnical account of string theory and its applications to collider physics.

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