Gauge Theories, Strings and Supergravity


The research project of GSS is devoted to the investigation of several challenging and open problems in supersymmetric Quantum Field Theories that aim at the unified description of Gravity and Gauge interactions. It is centred around the following themes:
  • String Theory, M-Theory, Supergravity;
  • Perturbative and non-perturbative properties of Gauge Theories;
  • Black Hole physics;
  • Models of supersymmetry breaking in Cosmology and Particle Physics.
The strategy is largely based on using, as a powerful conceptual and computational tool, the effective field theory limit of higher dimensional theories with strings and branes provided by supergravity. In this context, the role of holography is fundamental to connect supergravity with (super) conformal field theories, that are investigated in various regimes and also in higher dimensions. The geometry of spacetime and target spaces, the intricate web of dualities, non linear realisations of supersymmetry and higher spin dynamics are essential ingredients for opening new windows on string theory, quantum gravity and gauge theories at strong coupling, with timely applications to modern cosmology. GSS 2.0 is the natural evolution of a previous INFN research project, with a new national Coordinator, the INFN Section of Pisa replacing the INFN Frascati National Laboratories, and a thematic rearrangement of the group in Torino, joined by researchers from the University of Eastern Piedmont at Alessandria. The project involves altogether 7 INFN Units (GE, LE, MI, MIB, PD, PI, TO) with solid interconnections and well established synergies. The new scientific emphasis of the research plan is along the following lines:
  1. String Theory, compactifications and string vacua, with the aim of clarifying the geometry of higher dimensional string compactifications and their reduction to an effective supergravity using generalized geometry, F-theory flux compactifications and holographic effective actions for strongly coupled CFT.
  2. Supersymmetry breaking by fields and branes, with emphasis on non-linear realisations of supersymmetry and supersymmetry breaking in supergravity and string theory, in a complete or partial version. This is a timely subject, in view of the ongoing search for supersymmetry at LHC and of the emerging role of broken supersymmetry in cosmology and inflationary models.
  3. Supersymmetric Gauge Theories, holography and dualities, with attention to superconformal field theories embeddable in string theory and described by AdS supergravity, integrability and the properties of scattering amplitudes, the study of protected quantities in various dimensions, topological theories, higher spins.
  4. Black Holes in supergravity, with the goal of clarifying the supergravity description of microstates, entropy derivations for AdS4 black holes from M-theory, static solutions in AdS4, methods of solution generation, attractors in gauged supergravities with matter and the information paradox through CFT’s.
  5. Mathematical methods, with foreseen developments related to Wilson loop operators, localisation of path integrals, non-commutative geometry, supergeometry of spacetime, superintegration, with potential applications to the early Universe.