The State of Theory

There’s a lot of buzz in physics blogdom about the Strings 07 meeting, which starts today in Spain. They currently have a list of speakers, and promise slides and video to come.

Also, there’s a new paper by Edward Witten on the arxiv, cue sound of heavenly choirs:

We consider the problem of identifying the CFT’s that may be dual to pure gravity in three dimensions with negative cosmological constant. The c-theorem indicates that three-dimensional pure gravity is consistent only at certain values of the coupling constant, and the relation to Chern-Simons gauge theory hints that these may be the values at which the dual CFT can be holomorphically factorized. If so, and one takes at face value the minimum mass of a BTZ black hole, then the energy spectrum of three-dimensional gravity with negative cosmological constant can be determined exactly. At the most negative possible value of the cosmological constant, the dual CFT is very likely the monster theory of Frenkel, Lepowsky, and Meurman. The monster theory may be the first in a discrete series of CFT’s that are dual to three-dimensional gravity. The partition function of the second theory in the sequence can be determined on a hyperelliptic Riemann surface of any genus. We also make a similar analysis of supergravity.

It’s 82 pages, so I don’t expect I’ll be reading it any time soon, but if that’s your sort of thing… Well, you probably don’t need me to tell you that there’s a new Witten paper available.