Speaker: Finn Larsen (UM Physics)
Superstring theory is the only known description of gravity that is consistent at the quantum level. This success motivates ambitious hopes that string theory completes particle physics at very high energy and that it will furnish a meaningful description of the big bang. The pursuit of these goals has been extraordinarily fruitful as it led to rich particle physics scenarios such as supersymmetry and large extra dimensions. It has also given powerful tools for progress in quantum field theory and in pure math, deep insights into puzzling features of black holes, and surprising descriptions of realizable physical systems such as heavy ions.
This colloquium reviews the status of string theory and its prospects for the future.