MSI Friends and Alumni: Stringy Mathematics

Date & time

5.30–8pm 8 August 2013


Professor Peter Bouwknegt


 Donelle Claudianos

Professor Peter Bouwknegt will be presenting a special lecture for MSI's Alumni, friends and colleagues. The presentation will be followed by drinks, hors-d’oeuvres and a chance to meet and chat with the speaker and other members of the MSI. 

Attendance at these special lectures is by invitation only, so if you would like to attend, please register as a friend of MSI to receive your invitation. 


While the debate on whether String Theory has anything to do with physics still rages, there is no doubt that String Theory has been a driving force behind, and has led to many new developments, in Mathematics.  In this talk I will give a brief introduction to what String Theory's is all about, and then will focus on some of the mathematical developments, in particular those that I have been involved in, such as the classification of D-branes in terms of K-theory, and T-duality.  No prior knowledge of String Theory is assumed, and the required mathematics will be treated at an intuitive level rather than a rigorous one.

About the speaker

Professor Peter Bouwknegt studied Theoretical Physics and Mathematics at the University of Utrecht, Netherlands, under supervision of Prof G 't Hooft (Nobel Prize for Physics 1999), and at the University of Amsterdam under Prof FA Bais.  He spent several years as a postdoctoral fellow at MIT, CERN and the University of Southern California before settling in Australia in 1995. After having been at the University of Adelaide for almost 10 years, first as an ARC QEII Fellow and subsequently as an ARC Senior Research Fellow, he was appointed Professor of Theoretical Physics and Mathematics at the Australian National University in 2005. He is a recipient of the 2001 medal of the Australian Mathematical Society, and an expert on the mathematical foundations of String Theory and Conformal Field Theory. He served on the Australian Research Council's College of Experts from 2009-2011, and the ERA-REC in 2012. He is a former Director of the Mathematical Sciences Institute, and currently serves in the role of Deputy Director.

Prof Bouwknegt is often referred to as 'the only String Theorist in Australia' - a position he either acknowledges or refutes, depending on circumstances.

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