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Math @ Duke



Paul S Aspinwall, Professor of Mathematics and Physics and Associate Chair

Paul S Aspinwall
Contact Info:
Office Location:  244 Physics
Office Phone:  (919) 660-2800
Email Address: send me a message
Web Page:

Teaching (Spring 2015):

  • MATH 611.01, ALGEBRAIC TOPOLOGY I Synopsis
    Gross Hall 318, TuTh 01:25 PM-02:40 PM
Office Hours:

2:40 to 3:40pm on Tuesdays
1:30 to 2:30pm on Wednesdays

9/82-12/88, University College, Oxford

Mathematical Physics
Research Interests: String Theory

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.

Areas of Interest:

String Theory
Calabi-Yau Manifolds


Strings • Calabi-Yau • D-Branes • Mirror

Curriculum Vitae
Current Ph.D. Students   (Former Students)

  • Brian Fitzpatrick  
  • Kangkang Wang  
  • Benjamin Gaines  
Postdocs Mentored

  • Nicolas Addington (August, 2012 - present)  
  • Stefano Guerra (September, 2007 - August, 2010)  
  • Robert Duivenvoorden (July, 2005 - August 30, 2006)  
  • K. Narayan (September 1, 2002 - August 30, 2004)  
  • Eric Sharpe (1998/09-2001/09)  
Recent Publications   (More Publications)

  1. P.S. Aspinwall and Ben Gaines, Rational Curves and (0,2)-Deformations, Journal of Geometry and Physics (Accepted, 2014) [arXiv:1404.7802]
  2. P.S. Aspinwall, Exoflops in Two Dimensions (Preprint, 2014) [arXiv:1412.0612]
  3. P.S. Aspinwall, A McKay-Like Correspondence for (0,2)-Deformations, Advances in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics, vol. 18 no. 4 (2014), pp. 761-797 [1110.2524]
  4. N. Addington and P.S. Aspinwall, Categories of Massless D-Branes and del Pezzo Surfaces, JHEP, vol. 2013 no. 176 (2013)
  5. P.S. Aspinwall, Some Applications of Commutative Algebra to String Theory, in Commutative Algebra, Expository Papers Dedicated to David Eisenbud on the Occasion of His 65th Birthday (2013)  [abs]
Conferences Organized
ph: 919.660.2800
fax: 919.660.2821

Mathematics Department
Duke University, Box 90320
Durham, NC 27708-0320