In the past half century, gauge theory has been the fundamental paradigm of theoretical particle physics. Despite enormous progress, important open problems remain, e.g. regarding its non-perturbative behavior. Supersymmetry, relating bosons and fermions, can be used as a tool to gain insights into gauge theories. It serves to constrain a theory and make it well-behaved, as it gives rise to a number of desirable mathematical properties, such as non-renormalisation theorems and protection of certain quantities from quantum corrections. It is possible to engineer a vast variety of supersymmetric gauge theories via brane constructions in string theory. The string theoretic point of view allows us to take a unified view of many gauge theory problems which is not available from a purely field theoretic stance.
Our research centers around supersymmetric field theories, their dualities, and their brane realizations in string theory. A duality is an exact equivalence of two seemingly different physical systems. Especially so-called strong/weak dualities are an important tool for accessing non-perturbative regimes of quantum field theories. Our activities include the study of
We have a weekly Fields and Strings seminar.
See also http://www.reffert.itp.unibe.ch