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Symmetry Principles in Nature (SPIN)
Start date: May 1, 2014, End date: Apr 30, 2019 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Symmetries have traditionally played a very important role in our understanding of physics, both classical and quantum. As we move towards the next frontier of defining a quantum theory of gravity, it is clear that they will continue to play a predominant role. The current project is aimed at obtaining a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics of strongly coupled quantum systems, exploiting various symmetry properties that one expects on physical grounds. Specifically, the aim is to come up with effective descriptions of a wide class of quantum dynamics in gravitational and non-gravitational theories using the holographic gauge/gravity correspondence.One of the primary strands of the proposed research involves a critical examination of gravitational theories with higher spin symmetry. We will investigate the phase structure of such theories, the nature of gravitational solutions and notions of classical geometry in the presence of the enlarged gauge symmetry. Using appropriate generalizations of the gauge/gravity correspondence we will try to give gauge invariant characterizations of these concepts and further explore how such higher spin theories can be realized in string theory. A related strand of research concerns a deeper understanding of the gauge/gravity correspondence itself, with focus on figuring out how collective behaviour of strongly coupled field theories leads to the emergence of extra symmetries, such as local diffeomorphisms in the dual description. Along the way we will also develop effective descriptions for collective dynamics of strongly coupled quantum degrees of freedom, both in and out of equilibrium.

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