HET Seminar | Liam McAllister, Cornell | "Small Cosmological Constants in String Theory" | Wolfensohn Hall

Fri, Sep 24, 2021, 1:45 pm
Wolfensohn Hall (behind Bloomberg Hall)

This seminar will be presented in-person in Wolfensohn Hall at the IAS and on Zoom.

For contact-tracing purposes all attendees must register for this seminar: 
REGISTRATION FORM(link is external)

All in-person attendees must be fully vaccinated and masks are required in all indoor spaces. Additionally, all off-campus attendees are required to upload proof of vaccination via the IAS CrowdPass App (link is external).

Abstract: We construct vacua of string theory in which all moduli are stabilized and the magnitude of the cosmological constant is exponentially small.  The vacua are supersymmetric AdS_4 solutions in flux compactifications of type IIB string theory on orientifolds of Calabi-Yau hypersurfaces.  I will explain the advances in computing topological data in Calabi-Yau compactifications that led to these solutions, then speculate about implications for the cosmological constant problem.  The vacuum energy is small because we ensure the exact cancellation of all perturbative contributions, through an explicit choice of integer parameters determined by the topology and quantized fluxes.  The nonperturbative contributions that remain are exponential in these integers.  Finding cosmological constants of small magnitude in this landscape is exponentially easier than in Bousso-Polchinski landscapes.  Extending this approach to positive cosmological constants in realistic universes is a difficult open problem.