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Theses Doctoral

Capriccio For Strings: Collision-Mediated Parallel Transport in Curved Landscapes and Conifold-Enhanced Hierarchies Among Mirror Quintic Flux Vacua

Eckerle, Kate

This dissertation begins with a review of Calabi-Yau manifolds and their moduli spaces, flux compactification largely tailored to the case of type IIb supergravity, and Coleman-De Luccia vacuum decay. The three chapters that follow present the results of novel research conducted as a graduate student. Our first project is concerned with bubble collisions in single scalar field theories with multiple vacua. Lorentz boosted solitons traveling in one spatial dimension are used as a proxy to the colliding 3-dimensional spherical bubble walls. Recent work found that at sufficiently high impact velocities collisions between such bubble vacua are governed by "free passage" dynamics in which field interactions can be ignored during the collision, providing a systematic process for populating local minima without quantum nucleation. We focus on the time period that follows the bubble collision and provide evidence that, for certain potentials, interactions can drive significant deviations from the free passage bubble profile, thwarting the production of a new patch with different field value. However, for simple polynomial potentials a fine-tuning of vacuum locations is required to reverse the free passage kick enough that the field in the collision region returns to the original bubble vacuum. Hence we deem classical transitions mediated by free passage robust. Our second project continues with soliton collisions in the limit of relativistic impact velocity, but with the new feature of nontrivial field space curvature. We establish a simple geometrical interpretation of such collisions in terms of a double family of field profiles whose tangent vector fields stand in mutual parallel transport. This provides a generalization of the well-known limit in flat field space (free passage). We investigate the limits of this approximation and illustrate our analytical results with numerical simulations. In our third and final project we investigate the distribution of field theories that arise from the low energy limit of flux vacua built on type IIb string theory compactified on the mirror quintic. For a large collection of these models, we numerically determine the distribution of Taylor coefficients in a polynomial expansion of each model's scalar potential to fourth order. We provide an analytic explanation of the proncounced hierarchies exhibited by the random sample of masses and couplings generated numerically. The analytic argument is based on the structure of masses in no scale supergravity and the divergence of the Yukawa coupling at the conifold point in the moduli space of the mirror quintic. Our results cast the superpotential vev as a random element whose capacity to cloud structure vanishes as the conifold is approached.


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Academic Units
Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics
Thesis Advisors
Greene, Brian
Ph.D., Columbia University
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