Tomorrow Strings 2008 kick off here at CERN. The place and the timing of the conference were carefully planned to coincide with the first LHC results that would hint toward string theory. The plan didn't quite work out due to the LHC schedule slip, which means we have to wait one more year for the ultimate confirmation of string theory. The expectation makes it all even more exciting.
The warm-up for Strings 2008 was the Summer Institute on String Phenomenology that has been taking place at CERN TH during the last month. Although I'm usually attracted by wordplay, puns and oxymorons, this time I didn't manage to attend many talks. That's partly due to my summer travelling, and partly due to my summer paresse. Among the few talks I've seen I best remember the one by Cumrun Vafa who talked about F-theory phenomenology. He presented a simple and elegant construction that connects F-theory to reality (that is to the MSSM). Although I wasn't able to grasp all the details, the picture below gives a rough idea:
For detailed experimental predictions, the experimentalists from ATLAS and CMS are encouraged to consult this paper. Although there are no specific predictions for the superparticle spectrum, your perspective may be changed by the fact that the Higgs particle you will discover is in reality a matter curve on Riemann surfaces located at the intersection between the
GUT model seven-brane and additional seven-branes in the full compactification where the U(1) hypercharge flux is non-vanishing. For the neutrino physicists, the important piece of information is that the neutrinos are Dirac or Majorana and their masses are roughly of the order of what is observed. I heard some skeptics saying that back in the old days phenomenology meant a different thing, but such grumbling should not be taken seriously.
Highlights from the conference along with more nasty comments are soon to appear on this blog. Live webcast here or via technically more advanced Lubos' blog.