From Quarks to Strings via Magnets: Recent progress in Gauge and String Theories
American Physics Society, New York, U.S.A.
Understanding the interplay between quantum field theories and string theories is at the heart of many conceptual problems in theoretical physics. I will start with some motivations for these studies which have their origins in problems related to the strong nuclear force. Later on, I will endeavor to provide an overview of many breakthroughs that have recently been achieved on this front. In particular I shall focus on how of thinking about four dimensional quantum field theories as two dimensional systems of magnets allows for major progress in our studies of quantum field and string theories. I will try and conclude with a summary of what has been achieved and some of the critical problems that still lie unsolved.