Gauge/Gravity Duality and Condensed Matter Physics (16w5067)

Arriving in Banff, Alberta Sunday, February 28 and departing Friday March 4, 2016


(University of British Columbia)

Johanna Erdmenger (Max Planck Institute, Munich)


The Banff International Research Station will host the "Gauge/Gravity Duality and Condensed Matter Physics" workshop from February 28th to March 4th, 2016.

String theory is a promising candidate for a unified theory encompassing both quantum physics and gravity. Recently however, string theory has emerged as a more general mathematical and physical framework to describe physical phenomena in a much wider range of applications. This is due to the new concept of gauge/gravity duality which has been derived within string theory. Gauge/gravity duality provides a conjectured map by which strongly coupled quantum field theories are related to classical gravity theories. This provides an exciting new approach for describing strongly coupled quantum systems, for which conventional descriptions are scarce since the standard approach of considering quasi-particle excitations in an expansion about non-interacting theories does not apply. Strongly coupled systems are ubiquitous in condensed matter physics. They are present for instance in high-Tc superconductors, in quantum Hall systems, in systems that exhibit parity breaking and in non-equilibrium and time-dependent configurations.

One example of the systems to be studied are quenches of quantum systems which lead to a time evolution to a new configuration. Gauge/gravity duality maps this scenario for instance to collapsing matter configurations in gravity, which eventually lead to the formation of a black hole. This example illustrates how gauge/gravity duality leads to unexpected new connections between previously unrelated areas of theoretical physics.

The aim of the meeting is to bring together leading international experts from both gauge/gravity duality and condensed matter physics to explore how the new approach may be best adapted to suitable open questions in condensed matter physics. Conversely, it will be investigated how the needs for new approaches in condensed matter physics point at desirable generalizations of gauge/gravity duality and even at a better understanding of its mathematical foundations. This may lead to further insight into quantum gravity theories more generally.

The Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS) is a collaborative Canada-US-Mexico venture that provides
an environment for creative interaction as well as the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and methods within the Mathematical Sciences, with related disc
iplines and with industry. The research station is located at The Banff Centre in Alberta and is supported by Canada's Natural Science and Engineeri
ng Research Council (NSERC), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), Alberta's Advanced Education and Technology, and Mexico's Consejo Nacional
de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT).