This series consists of talks in the area of Superstring Theory.
In the past couple of years many new developments have been made in the techniques used for computing one-loop gauge theory amplitudes. These developments have mainly involved exploiting generalized unitarity techniques to construct the coefficients of the basis integral functions which make up a one-loop amplitude. I will outline these new developments along with their application to both QCD and N=8 supergravity amplitudes.
In this talk I discuss methods to determine hydrodynamical dispersion relations from an extra-dimensional gravity dual wherein the metric is supported by scalar fields. Such a setup may eventually be used as a model of the strongly coupled plasma created in heavy ion collisions. I examine examples of both the shear and sound modes. The shear mode is analyzed using the black hole membrane paradigm; a calculation of the shear viscosity is reviewed, and then the calculation is extended to the next hydrodynamical order. All results agree with those found using the AdS/CFT prescription.
Understanding dynamics of strongly coupled quantum field theories is an important problem in both condensed matter physics and high energy physics. In condensed matter systems, interacting quantum field theories can arise either at a critical point, or in a finite region of a parameter space. In the former case, massless modes arise as a result of fine tuning of external parameters, while, in the latter case, massless modes are protected by topology and/or symmetry.
We discuss various properties of holographic mesons in a deconfined strongly coupled plasma. We show that such mesons obtain a width from a non-perturbative effect. On the string theory side this is due to open string modes on a D-brane tunneling into a black hole through worldsheet instantons. On the field theory side these instantons have the simple interpretation as heavy thermal quarks. We also comment on how this non-perturbative effect has important consequences for the phase structure of the Yang-Mills theory obtained in the classical gravity limit.
We discuss holography for geometries that are asymptotic to non-conformal brane backgrounds. The near-horizon limit of all non-conformal branes, including D-branes and the fundamental string but excluding five-branes, is conformal to $AdS_{p+2} imes S^{8-p}$ with a linear dilaton. They exhibit a generalized conformal structure, both on the QFT and on the gravitational side. We develop holographic renormalization for all these cases and discuss a number of applications.
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The discovery of integrability in the large N limit of the prototypical realization of the AdS/CFT correspondence has raised the hope that the spectrum of scale dimensions in N=4 SYM (and strings in AdS_5 x S^5) might be known exactly, i.e. to all orders in the coupling constant. So far, most of the efforts focused on closed strings and periodic boundary conditions. In this talk I will discuss how these ideas are extended to open string and open boundary conditions.