Paul Stephen Aspinwall

  • Professor of Mathematics
  • Associate Chair of the Department of Mathematics
  • Professor of Physics (Secondary)
External address: 244 Physics Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: Box 90320, Durham, NC 27708-0320
Phone: (919) 660-2874
Office Hours: 

1:00 to 2:00pm each Tuesday
10:30am to 11:30am each Thursday

Research Areas and Keywords

Geometry: Differential & Algebraic
Algebraic Geometry, Mirror Symmetry, Calabi-Yau Varieties, Derived Categories
Mathematical Physics
String Theory, Compactification, D-Brane Categories.

String theory is hoped to provide a theory of all fundamental physics encompassing both quantum mechanics and general relativity. String theories naturally live in a large number of dimensions and so to make contact with the real world it is necessary to ``compactify'' the extra dimensions on some small compact space. Understanding the physics of the real world then becomes a problem very closely tied to understanding the geometry of the space on which one has compactified. In particular, when one restricts one's attention to ``supersymmetric'' physics the subject of algebraic geometry becomes particularly important.

Of current interest is the notion of ``duality''. Here one obtains the same physics by compactifying two different string theories in two different ways. Now one may use our limited understanding of one picture to fill in the gaps in our limited knowledge of the second picture. This appears to be an extremely powerful method of understanding a great deal of string theory.

Both mathematics and physics appear to benefit greatly from duality. In mathematics one finds hitherto unexpected connections between the geometry of different spaces. ``Mirror symmetry'' was an example of this but many more remain to be explored. On the physics side one hopes to obtain a better understanding of nonperturbative aspects of the way string theory describes the real world.

Education & Training
  • D.Phil., University of Oxford (UK) 1988

  • B.A., University of Oxford (UK) 1985

Aspinwall, PS, and Plesser, MR. "D-branes, discrete torsion and the McKay correspondence." Journal of High Energy Physics 5.2 (2001): XIX-25.

Aspinwall, PS, and Plesser, MR. "Heterotic string corrections from the dual type-II string." Journal of High Energy Physics 4.4 (2000): XXXIV-21.

Aspinwall, PS. "A note on the equivalence of Vafa's and Douglas's picture of discrete torsion." Journal of High Energy Physics 4.12 (2000): XXXVIII-6.

Aspinwall, PS, Katz, S, and Morrison, DR. "Lie groups, Calabi-Yau threefolds, and F-theory." Advances in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics 4.1 (2000): 1-24.

Aspinwall, PS, and Plesser, MR. "T-duality can fail." Journal of High Energy Physics 3.8 (1999): XI-18.

Aspinwall, PS. "Aspects of the hypermultiplet moduli space in string duality." Journal of High Energy Physics 2.4 (1998): XXIX-26.

Aspinwall, PS, and Donagi, RY. "The heterotic string, The tangent bundle and derived categories." Advances in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics 2.5 (1998): 1041-1074.

Aspinwall, PS, and Morrison, DR. "Non-simply-connected gauge groups and rational points on elliptic curves." Journal of High Energy Physics 1998.7 (1998): XXII-15.

Aspinwall, PS, and Morrison, DR. "Point-like instantons on K3 orbifolds." Nuclear Physics B 503.3 (1997): 533-564.

Aspinwall, PS. "Point-like instantons and the Spin(32)/ℤ2 heterotic string." Nuclear Physics B 496.1-2 (1997): 149-176.

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