School of Mathematical Sciences Colloquium Series logo

String Theory and the Quest for Quantum Spacetime


Professor Rajesh Gopakumar

(Harish-Chandra Research Institute)

Date & Time: Friday, March 9, 2012, 15:10

Location: Ligertwood 333 Law Lecture Theatre 2
                  (Note the unusual room, access to Ligertwood bldg from plaza on top of the Napier carpark)

Abstract: Space and time together constitute one of the most basic elements of physical reality. Since Einstein spacetime has become an active participant in the dynamics of the gravitational force. However, our notion of a quantum spacetime is still rudimentary. String theory, building upon hints provided from the physics of black holes, seems to be suggesting a very novel, "holographic" picture of what quantum spacetime might be. This relies on some very surprising connections of gravity with quantum field theories (which provide the framework for the description of the other fundamental interactions of nature). In this talk, I will try and convey some of the flavour of these connections as well as its significance.
The Colloquium will be followed by a reception for our speaker in the Staff Tea Room.

Lecture Series by Prof Gopakumar: Prof Gopakumar will give a lecture series as part of the

 IGA/AMSI workshop "The Mathematical Implications of Gauge-String Dualities"

from March 5 to March 9, 2012. For details please visit the IGA web-pages.

About the speaker: Professor Rajesh Gopakumar obtained his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1997 under the supervision of Nobel Laureate Professor David Gross. He was subsequently a research associate at Harvard University and he joined the prestigious Harish-Chandra Research Institute (HRI) in Allahabad, India as full-time researcher in 2001. He also held a visiting membership at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton during the period 2001-2004. Professor Gopakumar was awarded the 2004 B. M. Birla Science Prize in Physics and the ICTP Prize in 2006. He also received the highly esteemed Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award in 2009. He is a member of the Global Young Academy, the Indian National Science Academy, and the Indian Academy of Sciences. Professor Gopakumar is renowned for his outstanding contributions to the field of topological string theory, especially for his work with Cumrun Vafa on Gopakumar-Vafa duality and Gopakumar-Vafa invariants.