Thirty-First Meeting of the North British Mathematical Physics Seminar

The thirty-first meeting of the North British Mathematical Physics Seminar was held on Saturday 29 October 2011 in Durham, in the Derman Christopherson Room of the Calman Learning Centre, next to the Department of Mathematical Sciences. These people came. The original page announcing the meeting is here.

Money matters

In order to claim travel expenses (second class rail, bus, (shared) taxi for local travel) please use the project section of this form. In addition, and only if you do not have a UK bank account, please use this form for your contact and banking details. Please complete the necessary forms electronically, print them, sign the claims form and send them both together with receipts or tickets to

Bernd Schroers
Department of Mathematics
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh EH14 4AS
Please note that forms completed manually will not be processed by the Heriot-Watt finance department!


Coffee (in the Maths Dept, room CM211)
Anne Taormina (Durham)
The overarching finite symmetry group of Kummer surfaces in the Mathieu group M_24
I will briefly explain why some theoretical particle physicists and number theorists have recently become interested in 'Mathieu 24 Moonshine' and present the construction of a novel map between lattices to achieve a description of a group larger than the largest finite symplectic automorphisms group of K3 surfaces by orders of magnitude. The significance of this overarching symmetry will be stressed.
Christian Sämann (Heriot-Watt)
Towards a description of M5-branes using Loop Space
I will discuss a lift of the ADHM construction of monopoles, which can be interpreted in terms of a D1-D3-brane configuration, to a construction of self-dual strings, which is related to an M2-M5-brane configuration. This construction involves a loop space description of the M5-brane theory.
Herbert Gangl (Durham)
Symbols and polylogarithms
The analytical evaluation of Feynman integrals is a crucial problem in particle physics. Feynman integrals can generally be expressed in terms of (special classes of) multiple polylogarithms. While the actual functions can become very hard to deal with, it turns out to be more accessible to work with an algebraic avatar of a polylogarithm, dubbed a "symbol" by Goncharov. We will introduce polylogarithms and discuss some of their properties, in particular how to form--and work with--their associated symbol, and, time permitting, indicate a procedure which sometimes allows to retrieve the function from a given symbol (joint with C.Duhr and J.Rhodes).
Carlos Scarinci (Nottingham)
The Phase Space of AdS Gravity in 2+1 Dimensions
We describe a parametrization of the phase space of 2+1 globally hyperbolic AdS spacetimes by two copies of universal Teichmüller space obtained from the correspondence between maximal surfaces in AdS_3 and quasi-symmetric homeomorphisms of the circle. This yields a natural map generalizing the Mess map to spacetimes with noncompact spatial topology. We also relate such parametrization to the Chern-Simons formulation of 2+1 gravity and the holographic (Fefferman-Graham) description.
Noel Hustler (Edinburgh)
Symmetric space backgrounds of type IIB supergravity
The bosonic field equations of type IIB supergravity are reduced on a locally (Cartan) symmetric background and through the complete classification of symmetric spaces, we identify all symmetric space backgrounds of type IIB supergravity up to local isometry.

Practical Information

Train information can be obtained here.

For directions to the Department of Mathematical Sciences click here, here or here.

Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided free of charge. There might be a sandwich lunch for which participants might be charged (depending on funding).

Limited funds are available to help with travel expenses of participants with no other source of funding. We hope that this will encourage postgraduate students and postdocs to attend the meeting. Please email Patrick Dorey in advance if you would like to apply for support and please book early to take advantage of the cheaper fares.

Patrick Dorey
Last modified: 30 October 2011