Stanley Mandelstam

Research Interests

My research concerns string theory. At present I am interested in finding an explicit expression for the n-loop superstring amplitude and proving that it is finite. My field of research is particle theory, more specifically string theory. I am also interested in the recent results of Seiberg and Witten in supersymmetric field theories.

Current Projects

My present research concerns the problem of topology changing in string theory. It is currently believed that one has to sum over all string backgrounds and all topologies in doing the functional integral. I suspect that certain singular string backgrounds may be equivalent to topology changes, and that it is consequently only necessary to sum over string backgrounds. As a start I am investigating topology changes in two-dimensional target spaces. I am also interested in Seiberg-Witten invariants. Although much has been learned, some basic questions remain, and I hope to be able at least to understand the simpler of these questions.

Stanley Mandelstam (b. 1928, Johannesburg) is a South African-born theoretical physicist. He introduced the relativistically invariant Mandelstam variables into particle physics in 1958 as a convenient coordinate system for formulating his double dispersion relations. The double dispersion relations were a central tool in the bootstrap program which sought to formulate a consistent theory of infinitely many particle types of increasing spin.

Mandelstam, along with Tullio Regge, was responsible for the Regge theory of strong interaction phenomenology. He reinterpreted the analytic growth rate of the scattering amplitude as a function of the cosine of the scattering angle as the power law for the falloff of scattering amplitudes at high energy. Along with the double dispersion relation, Regge theory allowed theorists to find sufficient analytic constraints on scattering amplitudes of bound states to formulate a theory in which there are infintely many particle types, none of which are fundamental.

After Veneziano constructed the first tree-level scattering amplitude describing infinitely many particle types, what was recognized almost immediately as a string scattering amplitude, Mandelstam continued to make crucial contributions. He interpreted the Virasoro algebra discovered in consistency conditions as a geometrical symmetry of a world-sheet conformal field theory, formulating string theory in terms of two dimensional quantum field theory. He used the conformal invariance to calculate tree level string amplitudes on many worldsheet domains. Mandelstam was the first to explicitly construct the fermion scattering amplitudes in the Ramond and Neveu-Schwarz sectors of superstring theory, and later gave arguments for the finiteness of string perturbation theory.

In quantum field theory, Mandelstam and independently Sidney Coleman extended work of Tony Skyrme to show that the two dimensional quantum Sine-Gordon model is equivalently described by a thirring model whose fermions are the kinks. He also demonstrated that the 4d N=4 supersymmetric gauge theory is power counting finite, proving that this theory is scale invariant to all orders of perturbation theory, the first example of a field theory where all the infinities in feynman diagrams cancel.

Among his students at Berkeley are Joseph Polchinski and Charles Thorn.

Education: Witwatersrand (BSc, 1952); Trinity College, Cambridge (BA, 1954); Birmingham University (PhD, 1956).

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