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The Shape Of Everything

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String Theory is our best attempt at producing a theory of quantum gravity, but it is plagued with unsolved problems. One of these problems is that strings are only really happy in ten or eleven dimensions, wildly different to the four that we appear to experience. Even more worrying is that we don’t really know for certain what shape these ten or eleven dimensions are, apart from the fact six or seven of them have to be very small. In this lecture we go on a tour of the weird shapes which are candidates for these hidden dimensions, introducing as we go the mathematical language researchers use to talk about these shapes which are, for the most part, poorly understood. This talk will be accessible to those of all levels of mathematical knowledge, and I hope to include something for everyone.

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