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Counting states in string theory: Kirk Lecture:

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NCN2 - New connections in number theory and physics

In string theory, the partition function captures information on the number of physical states at each energy level. This information is encoded in the characters of certain infinite-dimensional algebras associated with symmetries of the specific string model considered. After giving a couple of introductory examples, we will show how a subtle mix of conformal symmetry and supersymmetry on the string world sheet led to the fortuitous discovery in 2010 of an intriguing phenomenon called `Mathieu Moonshine’, which hints at the existence of a huge discrete symmetry whose role in string theory remains unclear.  

This talk is part of the Isaac Newton Institute Seminar Series series.

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