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Mathematics  2002 

On Algebraic Singularities, Finite Graphs and D-Brane Gauge Theories: A String Theoretic Perspective

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Abstract:

In this writing we shall address certain beautiful inter-relations between the construction of 4-dimensional supersymmetric gauge theories and resolution of algebraic singularities, from the perspective of String Theory. We review in some detail the requisite background in both the mathematics, such as orbifolds, symplectic quotients and quiver representations, as well as the physics, such as gauged linear sigma models, geometrical engineering, Hanany-Witten setups and D-brane probes. We investigate aspects of world-volume gauge dynamics using D-brane resolutions of various Calabi-Yau singularities, notably Gorenstein quotients and toric singularities. Attention will be paid to the general methodology of constructing gauge theories for these singular backgrounds, with and without the presence of the NS-NS B-field, as well as the T-duals to brane setups and branes wrapping cycles in the mirror geometry. Applications of such diverse and elegant mathematics as crepant resolution of algebraic singularities, representation of finite groups and finite graphs, modular invariants of affine Lie algebras, etc. will naturally arise. Various viewpoints and generalisations of McKay's Correspondence will also be considered. The present work is a transcription of excerpts from the first three volumes of the author's PhD thesis which was written under the direction of Prof. A. Hanany - to whom he is much indebted - at the Centre for Theoretical Physics of MIT, and which, at the suggestion of friends, he posts to the ArXiv pro hac vice; it is his sincerest wish that the ensuing pages might be of some small use to the beginning student.

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