Holography, Gravity and the Standard Model

The aim of this thesis project is to adress a  part of the projet below. Interested candidates should contact Elias Kiritsis  before March 15 2016  (see the section "Application procedure  and requirements" below).                                                                                                                                                                            

Project outline

The main thrust of this project is to investigate implications of a recently discovered correspondence (string theory/gravity and gauge theory) to the physics beyond the Standard Model (SM) of fundamental interaction and its coupling to gravity. Instead of relying on the string picture of the unification of all interactions with gravity, I propose to look at its dual version: four-dimensional quantum field theories (QFT). Such a different perspective is expected to provide three distinct results:

(a)    A QFT view of SM embedding in string theory

(b)   Novel phenomena and properties of such embeddings that are hard to see in the string theory picture.

(c)    A “dual” view that would be valid in non-stringy regimes (which may be well described by QFT)

The key idea is that gravity, as observed in nature, is emergent: it is the avatar of a (hidden) large-N (near) CFT that is interacting with the SM at high energy (the Planck scale). Such an approach provides an appealing UVcompletion to the SM+gravity: a UV complete four-dimensional QFT. There are, however, many questions that need to be addressed in order for this setup to be a viable physical theory:

1.      Why is the gravitational force four-dimensional (instead of higher dimensional as suggested by standard holography)?

2.      Why does the coupling of the gravitational force to the SM satisfy the equivalence principle to such a high accuracy?

3.      Why are other gravitons, emerging from couplings to other QFTs, not visible? What are their leading effects if one wishes to look for them?

4.      What are other universal interactions with the SM model implied in this picture? What are their phenomenological consequences?

5.      How can one construct, precise and controllable models for this setup?

6.      How is Cosmology emerging in this picture? How do the important problems associated with it get resolved?

SM-GRAV will address all of the above questions using the tools of QFT, of string theory and the AdS-CFT correspondence.

The outcome of the proposed research is expected to be a concrete and quantitative model/scenario for the emergence and coupling of the “generalized gravitational sector fields” to the SM model and the potential novel phenomenological implications for particle physics and cosmology.

Application procedure and requirements

Candidates should have excellent knowledge of Quantum mechanics, General Relativity and Quantum Field Theory. Knowledge of some string theory and
the gauge-gravity correspondence is a plus.

To be considered, candidates should send (by email) to Elias Kiritsis ( kiritsisatapc.univ-paris7.fr ) by March 15,  2016.

a) A detailed CV and a statement of research interests.

b) Three letters of reference from preferably well known scientists in the field.

c)  Detailed undergraduate and master grades as well as some proof of good English knowledge.

d) Any other information  deemed relevant.

At the same time, the candidate should also start an application procedure for the Ecole Doctorale STEP'UP (ED560)


The decision will be taken in May.
The successful applicant will start September 2016.

Contact: Elias Kiritsis  (kiritsisatapc.univ-paris7.fr)


Elias Kiritsis






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