Exact Methods in Gauge and String Theory

Marie Curie Career Integration Grant

One of the most important problems of theoretical physics is to understand the nature of strongly coupled gauge theories. Such theories underpin our modern description of a wide range of physical phenomena from the existence of protons and neutrons, due to confinement in quantum chromodynamics (QCD), to the fractional quantum Hall effect (FQHE) for strongly coupled electrons in two-dimensions. As these phenomena occur beyond the regime where standard perturbative approaches are applicable we have limited theoretical tools with which to develop any physical understanding and there remain a great number of profound open questions. The overarching objective of this research project is to develop a deeper understanding of the nonperturbative behaviour of strongly coupled gauge theory by studying special, highly symmetric models such as the maximally supersymmetric four-dimensional gauge theory, N = 4, super-Yang–Mills (SYM).

More concretely the aims are:
  • To develop perturbative and exact methods for the calculation of three- and higher-point correlation functions in N = 4 SYM.
  • To study the quantum string in AdS5 × S5, particularly its underlying integrable structures and off-shell observables, such as form factors, and to relate these to objects in the dual gauge theory.
  • To use the results from the calculation of correlation functions and form factors to probe other interesting observables such as null-polygonal Wilson loops and planar scattering amplitudes.
  • To extend these results to more general theories with reduced numbers of symmetries.
  • Group Members


    As part of the project we have organised a number of events. This includes specialised research workshops, training schools and events involving public outreach.

    Upcoming events:
  • IQF 2017, The event is a continuation of the series started in 2012. This year it will be held in UCD
  • New Results in Quantum Field Theory and Holography, this event is a focussed workshop held in TCD as part of the Hamilton Mathematics Institute event series.

  • Past Events:
  • Young Researchers Integrability School and Workshop, this was a major output of the project held from February 27th - March 3rd 2017. The event brought together over fifty young researchers, mostly PhD students and postdoctoral researchers, with an interest in integrability in gauge and string theory from Ireland, Europe and further afield for a week long school and workshop. The first three days were made up of introductory lectures on exciting recent developments by Roberto Tateo from Torino, Shota Komatsu from Perimeter and Dmytro Volin from TCD combined with hands-on, informal afternoon sessions lead by promising young scientists in the field - Stefano Negro, João Caetano, both from LPTENS in Paris, and Christian Marboe from TCD. The lectures were very well received and it is planned to publish them as a special journal edition. The event also included training in presentation and interview skills and the final day was devoted to a mini-conference made up of research talks and posters by participants (all of which can be found on the conference website). The meeting was such a success that there are already plans to continue the series with another event to be held in Ascona, Switzerland in 2018.

  • IQF 2016 The event was held in NUIM Maynooth.
    The public talk was by Mauro Paternostro entitled "Quantumness in a classical world?"

  • IQF 2015 The event was held in DIAS.
    The public talk "Quantum Universe" by Viatcheslav Mukhanov was held in TCD.

  • IQF 2014 This was the second year of the new IQF event and was held on TCD campus.
    The public outreach talk was "The Cosmic Microwave Background: New Views of the Early Universe" by Créidhe O'Sullivan (NUI Maynooth)

  • IQF 2013 This conference was the inaugral meeting following in the steps of the traditional Irish Quantum Field Theory meeting and was held in Castletown House, Ireland's largest and earliest Palladian house (built 1729). The talks presented recent developments in theoretical physics research in Ireland and abroad in areas including High Energy Physics, Cosmology, Condensed Matter Theory, and Mathematical Physics.
    The public outreach event was a combined talk given by Peter Higgs, Alan Walker, Victoria Martin and Fransisca Garay about the Higgs Boson: its history, theory and discovery.

  • Publications

    A list of publications can be found here.


    Slides for some recent talks (a complete list of talks given can be found here):
  • Multi-soft limits for gluon amplitudes - A symmetry algebra interpretation, Humboldt University Berlin, Jan 2017
  • Conformal Higher Spins and Twistor Actions, Lebedev, Dec 2016
  • Integrable Form Factors and AdS/CFT ISQS, Prague, Jun 2015
  • String Form Factors and Gauge Theory Correlators, Indian Strings Meeting, Puri, 2014