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"Too beautiful to be false"

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Dirac frequently reiterated his view that physical theories should be associated with “beautiful” mathematics. This talk, which is aimed at non-experts, aims to illustrate this viewpoint in the context of modern developments in quantum field theory, general relativity and string theory. The talk will stress, in particular, the role played by dualities – relationships between two descriptions of the same physical or mathematical system – starting from the electric/magnetic duality of Maxwell’s theory and including the holographic duality that relates gravitational and condensed matter systems.

This talk is part of the Dirac Lecture series.

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