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High Energy Theory Seminar

Wednesday, April 3, 2024
11:00am to 12:00pm
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Online and In-Person Event
One-Form Symmetry in Dynamical Gravity
Joonhwi Kim, Caltech,

We identify a one-form symmetry in dynamical gravity at the fully nonlinear level, yet within the effective field theory regime where spacetime topology and dimensionality are fixed.  Our basic strategy is to transcribe known results from Yang-Mills theory directly to gravity, which is through identifying a common "BF" structure in the first-order formulations.  Firstly, we derive an explicit realization of the one-form symmetry operator in Yang-Mills theory in terms of local degrees of freedom, using a multivalued transformation of fields.  Secondly, applying this construction to gravity shows that a symmetry operator , labeled by a center element α of the Lorentz group, transforms the holonomy Wρ of the spin connection in a spin representation ρ.  Curiously, this symmetry operator encodes "Area/4G" and admits a physical interpretation as an exotic topological cosmic string defect.  The physical implication of this gravitational one-form symmetry is that the standard model exhibits a new symmetry of nature at scales below the lightest neutrino mass.  More generally, swampland conjectures suggest that it is either gauged or explicitly broken, the latter of which mandating the existence of fermions.
Reference:  [2403.01837]

The talk is in 469 Lauritsen.

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