Mysterious Duality

Sasha Voronov
University of Minnesota
Monday, September 30, 2019 - 2:30pm to 3:30pm
Ford Hall 110

“Mysterious Duality” was discovered by Iqbal, Neitzke, and Vafa in 2001. They noticed that toroidal compactifications of M-theory lead to the same series of combinatorial objects as del Pezzo surfaces do, along with numerous mysterious coincidences: both toroidal compactifications and del Pezzo surfaces give rise to the exceptional series E_k; the U-duality group corresponds to the Weyl group W(E_k), arising also as a group of automorphisms of the del Pezzo surface; a collection of various M- and D-branes corresponds to a set of divisors; the brane tension is related to the “area” of the corresponding divisor, etc. The mystery is that it is not at all clear where this duality comes from. In the talk, I will present another series of mathematical objects: certain versions of multiple loop spaces of the sphere S^4, which are, on the one hand, directly connected to M-theory and its combinatorics, and, on the hand, possess the same combinatorics as the del Pezzo surfaces. This is a report on an ongoing work with Hisham Sati.