Prospects for the String Axiverse (25w5384)


Naomi Gendler (Harvard University)

Michele Cicoli (Bologna University)

David Marsh (King's College London)

Liam McAllister (Cornell University)


The Banff International Research Station will host the “Prospects for the String Axiverse” workshop in Banff from January 12 - 17, 2025.

Axion-like particles are one of the most promising candidates for new physics. Axions were originally proposed to solve the strong CP problem, but they can have the right properties to compose some or all of the dark matter, as well as to drive inflation. A wide-ranging assembly of terrestrial experiments and astrophysical observations are actively searching for axions via their possible interactions with Standard Model particles. We may very well detect axions in our lifetime. Axions are of interest not just from a bottom-up perspective, but because they are extraordinarily well-motivated in string theory. Axions are ubiquitious in string theory, and their properties can be studied explicitly.

We are therefore at a pivotal moment in the history of axion physics: experiments have reached a scale and sophistication such that axion detection is conceivably on the horizon, and at the same time computational and geometrical tools have advanced to a stage such that we can systematically study the axions that arise from compactifications of string theory. The questions are urgent: what are the string theory expectations for axion detection? And if we do detect an axion, what will we learn about string theory? This 5-day workshop brings together axion experts with backgrounds in string theory, phenomenology, and experiment to push progress towards making concrete axion predictions with string theory.

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 disciplines and with industry. The research station is located at The Banff Centre in Alberta and is supported by Canada’s Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), and Alberta’s Advanced Education and Technology.