Introduction to Gauge/Gravity Duality

Course content

This course gives an introduction to the foundations and formulation of the gauge/gravity duality which is a correspondence between (supersymmetric) quantum field theories and gravity (string) theories. The first part of the course will introduce the necessary background material and the second part will present the duality along with some of the main tests and applications.


MSc Programme in Physics

Learning outcome

At the end of the course, the student will:

  • Know the necessary background material which includes non-abelian gauge theories, large N limit, supersymmetry, conformal symmetry, supergravity, anti-deSitter space times, black holes and D-branes in string theory.
  • Be familiar with the origin of the gauge/gravity (or AdS/CFT) duality, its precise formulation and some of its simplest tests.
  • Have heard about the duality at finite temperature and the relation between hydrodynamics of quantum field theory and black holes in gravity.
  • Have an overview of important generalizations and consequences of the duality.


At the end of the course, the student is expected to:

  • Be able to explain the formulation of non-abelian gauge theories and the large N limit.
  • Be able to explain the concept of supersymmetry, conformal symmetry, superconformal symmetry and the main properties of field theories with such symmetries.
  • Be able to explain the main properties of D-branes and their supergravity and string theory descriptions
  • Be able to explain the properties of anti-deSitter spacetime and black holes in this spacetime.
  • Be able to explain the origin and formulation of the AdS/CFT correspondence.
  • Be able to explain some of the simplest tests of the AdS/CFT correspondence
  • Be able to explain the features and consequences of the AdS/CFT correspondence for finite temperature quantum field theories.


This course builds on the knowledge of,quantum field theory, general relativity and some parts of string theory. The course will provide the students with a competent background for further studies within this research field, i.e. a M.Sc. project in theoretical high energy physics. It will also provide those that plan to continue into experimental high energy physics, or cosmology with the necessary background to understand the main elements of the gauge/gravity duality.
This course will provide the students with tools that have application in a range of fields in physics (including condensed matter theory) and mathematics.

Lectures and exercises

See Absalon for final course material. The following is an example of expected course litterature.

Gauge/Gravity Duality
Foundations and Applications


Martin Ammon, Johanna Erdmenger, Cambridge University Press

It is recommended that the student has followed courses on the following subjects at M.Sc. level:
General Relativity and Cosmology
Elementary Particle Physics
Quantum Field Theory
String Theory

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 30 minutes
Oral exam, 30 minutes, no preparation time
Without aids
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
More internal examiners.
Criteria for exam assessment

see learning goals

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 35
  • Exercises
  • 21
  • Exam
  • 0,5
  • Preparation
  • 149,5
  • English
  • 206,0