Symmetry Colloquia – Global Categorical Symmetries: Symmetries, Invertible Field Theories, and Gauge Theory Phases


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May 2, 2024 3:00 pm - 3:50 pm
CMSA, 20 Garden St, G10
Address: 20 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Thomas Dumitrescu - UCLA

I will start with a brief overview of gauge theory phases in 3+1 dimensions through the lens of higher symmetries — in particular the realization of 1-form symmetries acting on loop order parameters. I will then review recent progress in refining this characterization using invertible field theories, or equivalently symmetry protected topological phases (SPTs). This refinement leads to new results in gauge theories with fundamental matter, such as quantum chromodynamics (QCD), which do not possess 1-form symmetries. I will explain why these theories must sometimes undergo a phase transition between their confining and Higgs regimes, despite the fact that classic results and standard lore say they should be continuously connected.