The Landscape vs. the Swampland

In the last two decades it has become apparent that string theory has a gigantic number of consistent solutions, the so-called string `landscape'. This has raised an interesting and important question: Can all consistent low energy effective field theories that include gravity actually arise in string theory or not? While this is a very difficult question to answer, it seems clear that not every consistent looking low energy effective theory can arise from string theory. This has led to the term `swampland' to describe low energy effective field theories, which look consistent but ultimately are not when coupled to gravity. The idea of sharpening the boundaries between the landscape and the swampland is a very active research area in which people try to find new classes of string compactifications and/or new constraints that need to be satisfied by low energy effective theories once they are coupled to gravity.

The topic of our programme is the string landscape and the swampland and should be understood in a broad sense. Current interesting topics for our community that we plan to cover during the program and workshop are the following:

  • Refining the boundaries between the string landscape and the swampland, for example via the construction of explicit F-theory models and the identification of associated constraints on low-energy physics.
  • The weak gravity conjecture and its implications for cosmology, general relativity and particle physics.
  • Non-supersymmetric AdS/CFT holography and connections between holography and the weak gravity conjecture.
  • Are de Sitter vacua in the swampland or landscape?
  • Emergence and the swampland.

Coming soon.

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At a glance
Thematic Programme
May 31, 2021 -- July 9, 2021
ESI Boltzmann Lecture Hall
Gary Shiu (U of Wisconsin-Madison)
Washington Taylor (MIT)
Irene Valenzuela (Harvard U, Cambridge)
Timm Wrase (Lehigh U, Bethlehem)