Research Fellows Directory
Dr Constantinos Papageorgakis
Queen Mary, University of London
There exist five (super)string theories, providing the most prominent framework for capturing all interactions in nature, including gravity. However, they appear to be unified by the even more fundamental 'M theory'. The latter is not a theory of strings and D branes (dynamical membrane-like hyper-surfaces onto which open strings end), but is known to involve extended membranes, 'M2 branes', and objects with five spatial dimensions, 'M5-branes'. Even though historically M2 and M5 branes have been difficult to study directly, in certain corners of the M-theory parameter space, they 'reduce' to strings and D branes, for which one has good computational control from string theory.
Over the last few years, dramatic breakthroughs culminated in the formulation of a quantum-field theory that captures the dynamics of multiple M2 branes. In contrast, the description of M5 branes has been plagued by slow progress. One of the main difficulties relates to the inability of setting up a perturbative framework for their study; that is, a controlled expansion in a small parameter. However, there have been renewed efforts in alternative approaches to understanding M5-brane physics, either as limits of perturbative theories or through a powerful toolbox going under the name of 'conformal-field theory'.
Understanding M5-brane dynamics would shed significant light on M theory. My research involves combining the above methods, as well as additional approaches, to push the boundaries in this direction.
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)