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David Berman, Queen Mary College London

Duality Symmetric String and M-Theory

We review recent developments in duality symmetric string theory. We begin with the world sheet doubled formalism which describes strings in an extended space time with extra coordinates conjugate to winding modes. This formalism is T-duality symmetric and can accommodate non-geometric T-fold backgrounds which are beyond the scope of Riemannian geometry. Vanishing of the conformal anomaly of this theory can be interpreted as a set of spacetime equations for the background fields. These equations follow from an action principle that has been dubbed Double Field Theory (DFT). We review the aspects of generalised geometry relevant for DFT. We outline recent extensions of DFT and explain how, by relaxing the so-called strong constraint with a Scherk Schwarz ansatz, one can obtain backgrounds that simultaneously depend on both the regular and T-dual coordinates. This provides a purely geometric higher dimensional origin to gauged supergravities that arise from non-geometric compactification. We then turn to M-theory and describe recent progress in formulating an \(E_{n(n)}\) U-duality covariant description of the dynamics. We describe how spacetime may be extended to accommodate coordinates conjugate to brane wrapping modes and the construction of generalised metrics in this extend space that unite the bosonic fields of supergravity into a single object. We review the action principles for these theories and their novel gauge symmetries. We also describe how a Scherk Schwarz reduction can be applied in the M-theory context and the resulting relationship to the embedding tensor formulation of maximal gauged supergravities.