Professor Gary Gibbons: "Introduction to Supergravity"

Tue, 10/06/2015 - 16:00 - 17:30
Gary Gibbons, Visiting Distinguished Professor (Cambridge, UK)

Supergravity is a theory of gravity incorporating a super-symmetry", that is a symmetry between Fermions and Bosons. The boson in question is the graviton which carries spin 2 and its fermionic partner is the gravitino which carries spin 3/2. The first is governed classically by Einstein's equations and the second by the Rarita-Schwinger equations.

Originally conceived of as possible consistent theory of quantum gravity, nowadays supergravity is usually regarded as the low energy limit of a puta-tivet consistent theory of gravity known as super-string theory. In fact almost all current work in string theory makes extensive use of supergravity techniques since they offer one of the few means of obtaining non-perturbative insights. Supergravity has also made significant contributions to our under-standing of general relativity and has many links with differential geometry.

The present course is designed as a first look at supergravity, its simplest extension which incorporates the photon and some of its applications to the positive mass theorem and to certain types of black holes theory of gravity. The only prerequisites are an acquaintance with General Relativity and with the Dirac equation. The essential elements I shall need will however be reviewed before they are used.


Every Tuesday and Thursday from 4pm to 5:30 beginning October 6, 2015 until December 1, 2015

A pdf file made by a student of a previous version of this course may be found at this URL: