Yesterday I caught the tube with a number of the post-docs and members of the faculty and we travelled to Imperial to hear Jose Barbon (Madrid) and Katrin Wendland talk as part of the London Triangle seminars which happen occasionally, and are shared between Imperial, KCL and QMW. These are usually the most technical of the different seminars I have attended, and the topics have a tendency to be quite specialist. Consequently I'm not going to feel too disappointed because I didn't understand much, and instead of describing the talks in any detail I'm going to give the titles and where the important papers can be found, and mention any vocab that caused me to lose my way.
Jose Barbon talked first on "QCD Chiral Dynamics and AdS/CFT Models", and it seemed he gave a very good talk and was very familiar with the various techniques of doing calculations using the AdS/CFT correspondence. Unfortunately I'm not so familiar with it and was lost quite quickly. The talk was based upon his paper with Hoyos, Mateos and Myers entitled "The Holographic Life of the \eta'" and new vocabulary was light on the ground, although I did hear the word "bolt" used for the first time, in this case it was described as being equivalent to a "wall repelling Wilson loops" (which was equally alien terminology for me), but the word itself does not turn up in the relevant paper.
After no questions, which I feel is often a sign that the speaker has bamboozled the audience, we enjoyed some very welcome coffee and sticky cakes.
The second talk was given by Katrin Wendland, who is based at Warwick and Chapel Hill, and was a very decent algebraic geometry lesson. Her talk was entitled "How to construct SCFTs associated to a family of smooth K3 surfaces" - first piece of vocabulary thanks to wikipedia:
KW's talk was based around her paper "On Superconformal Field Theories Associated to Very Attractive Quartics" and was concerned with expressing SCFTs in a neat form classified by a sum of quartic polynomials on CP^3. Incidently, if you look at the wikipedia entry on complex projective spaces you find it carries the health warning:
This article may be too technical for most readers to understand. Please expand it to make it more accessible to non-experts — without removing the technical details — and remove this notice once so done.I think whoever has the job of putting this quote in place should start doing the same job on the arxiv :) Anyway KW gave us a very specific recipe for characterising SCFTs as a Z_4 orbifold, from the tensor product of two Z_2 orbifolds. The example of the tensor product of two Gepner models was used and her paper with Nahm cited. The talk was very lively, and as with the Barbon, it was disappointing that I didn't know enough to benefit from it :(
I went back to Drury Lane with my tail between my legs and felt discouraged.