# Synopsis: String theory on the brane

Branes are multidimensional objects that arise in the formulation of string theory. Finding more general ways to describe these objects mathematically often leads to new insights into string theory itself.

M2-branes are objects that arise in a theoretical framework, called M-theory, which is conjectured to unify all string theories. Accumulated evidence suggests that at low energies, M-theory has a unique well-known 11-dimensional Lagrangian description that includes gravity, among other interactions. In this description, M2-branes are membranelike classical solutions that span two dimensions in space.

Branes of any dimension often yield surprises when considered in multiple numbers. For instance, stacks of certain branes in string theory are described in terms of supersymmetric gauge theories. This relationship of stacks of branes and gauge theories has led to a variety of important results and insights into gauge theories themselves.

Jonathan Bagger (The Johns Hopkins University) and Neil Lambert (King’s College, London) found that multiple M2-branes are described most naturally in terms of a new mathematical structure that they call a three-algebra. Writing in Physical Review D, Bagger and Lambert build on their previous work to consider more general M2-brane configurations. The new theories they construct are based on less restrictive three-algebras than was thought possible previously and open up intriguing new directions.

The results reported here have implications both for a better understanding of M-theory and the low-energy dynamics of gauge theories in 2+1 (space+time) dimensions. – Ansar Fayyazuddin

More Features »

### Announcements

More Announcements »

## Subject Areas

Particles and Fields

Quantum Physics

## Next Synopsis

Atomic and Molecular Physics

## Related Articles

Particles and Fields

### Viewpoint: Spinning Gluons in the Proton

Computer simulations indicate that about 50% of the proton’s spin comes from the spin of the gluons that bind its quark constituents. Read More »

Astrophysics

### Synopsis: Neutrino Flashes from Exploding Stars

Calculations indicate that neutrino emission from a supernova could be detected on Earth, possibly revealing how the star explodes. Read More »

Particles and Fields

### Synopsis: Model Tries to Solve Five Physics Problems at Once

A minimal extension to the standard model of particle physics involves six new particles. Read More »