Project MRTN-CT-2004-005104

Constituents, Fundamental Forces and Symmetries of the Universe (Short title: ForcesUniverse)


Project Overview

Network Participants

New Postdoc Positions for fall 2008 (Application, information): FOR NEW APPLICATIONS CLICK HERE!,.

PhD positions

Training (schools, workshops, other events)


Public Outreach

Related networks

Informations for contact persons

Project overview:

ForcesUniverse is a Marie Curie Research Training Network supported by the European Community's Sixth Framework Programme. The network contract (MRTN-CT-2004-005104) was concluded between the European Commission and consortium on 1st November 2004 with duration of 48 months.

The project aims to gain further insights into the fundamental structure of the universe, namely its basic constituents, the forces mutually acting among them and the symmetries which underlie its theoretical description. With the advent of quantum field theories, gauge theories supersymmetric theories, supergravity theories and superstring theory it seems that the structure of matter and the structure of the universe are for the first time about to be expressed in a common language and, possibly, in the framework of a single unified theory. Over many years, this is a subject of enormous conceptual interest in theoretical particle physics, cosmology and also mathematics. The new theoretical ideas about space, matter and symmetries provide a fruitful stimulus to discuss processes beyond the Standard Model of particle physics which could be tested in future accelerator experiments like the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

The main research objectives will be to further explore the relation between supergravity and gauge forces, which is a manifestation of a subtle duality between open and closed strings due to the existence of D-branes. Another important aspect will be to close the gap between the Standard Model and string or M-theory by studying brane-world and flux compactifications from 10 or 11 dimensions. Finally the early history of the universe, i.e. the study of cosmology in string/M-theory, and the quantum structure of black holes will be one of the main research objectives.

The network will organize its work around the following themes:

1) Basic constituents: Strings and Branes

2) Symmetries: supersymmetry, duality symmetry and infinite dimensional algebras

3) Gauge theories and (super)gravity: several correspondences

4) Compactifications: brane world models and connection to the standard model

5) The early universe: supergravity, string and brane cosmology

Description of the network consortium

The network involves 25 participants, who collaborate with 11 supporting institutes. It is for a large part a continuation of a RTN network.

Coordination: Dieter Lüst, Physics Department, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Theresienstr. 37, D-80333 München, telephone: +49-89-21804372, e-mail:

We are organized in the following groups with each main contractor written in bold and supporting institutes in Italics:

Young Researchers - Postdoc Positions

The next post-doc positions will start in fall 2008 and are financed by local funds of the indivudal institutes. However we will use a common application procedure for these positions. These application can be done only online: The starting page for applicants and referees is here.

The deadline for the applications is November 30, 2007 for positions starting in the autumn of 2008. Candidates will be selected in December 2007.

Young Researchers - PhD Positions

In addition the network also offers a certain number of PhD-positions. The following nodes still have vacancies: CSIC-Madrid, Trinity College Dublin, INFN Frascati, University Patras, INRNE Sofia, University of Iceland, University Edinburgh, ETH-Zürich, University Craiova. People interested in these positions should directly apply at the relevant institutes.

The University of Craiova announces the opening of a PhD position: for details klick here.


Whilst only post-doctoral researchers will be recruited, the training programme addresses both post- and pre-doctoral researchers and senior researchers benefit from various facets of it as well. There are both individual and common aspects to our training programme. Both are equally important and essential to the good working of the network. The common aspects, a yearly school and a yearly workshop, each last for a week while the individual training, visits happen throughout the year.

The individual training consists of frequent visits of both young as well as senior researchers to various nodes. The individual visits makes the exchange of complimentary skills possible. The visit of a senior scientist to some other node of the network is usually combined with either one or more seminars on their ongoing research or a set of lectures on a subject within their speciality, chosen in such a way that the receiving node benefits directly from it. Visits of younger researchers usually have the purpose to work on an ongoing collaboration between the nodes involved.

Meetings and Schools

Turning to the common training, we foresee three main elements:

The annual network schools

The school is mainly intended for all young pre- and post-doctoral researchers of the network and focuses on topics that are at the moment particularly important to the aims of the network. Its purpose is to quickly bring the young researchers up to a level where they can actively contribute to the research program of the network. The school should provide a close contact between the lecturers and the students, leaving also a lot of time for discussions, both on an individual level and also in special discussion sessions. We will allow young researchers of the other candidate countries to participate free of inscription fee to all our network schools and workshops.

  • The first school will be in Trieste. January 31 - February 4, 2005.
  • The second school will be at CERN in Geneva, January 16 - 20, 2006.
  • The third school will be at CERN in Geneva, January 15 - 19, 2007.
  • The fourth school will be at CERN in Geneva, January 21 - 25, 2008.
  • The annual network conferences

    The annual network conference is one of the main research and training events of the network, where most of the young researchers, as well as most of the senior scientists, come together for one week. This workshop will usually be hosted by one of the network nodes and normally takes place during the autumn, although this is not necessarily required. The conference program is planned to contain several, typically five or six, lectures by senior scientists on research topics which are of general interest and reflect the current status of the field. The lectures will always be complemented by discussion sessions where the young researchers are encouraged to ask also basic questions concerning the lectures. The coordinators of the working groups (see below) should influence the selection of the topics and the speakers of these general conference lectures. In addition the workshop will also consist of a number of seminars where mostly young researchers have the occasion to present their own scientific results.

  • The first network conference will be in Corfu, September 20 - 26, 2005.
  • The second network conference together with the midterm meeting will be in Naples, October 9 - 13, 2006.
  • The third network conference will be in Valencia, October 1 - 5, 2007.
  • The fourth network conference will be in Varna, September 11 - 17, 2008.
  • Working groups and mini workshops

    The creation of five working groups is an important element in the training program. The coordinators of the working groups will organize smaller meetings and lecture series in one of the nodes during the year. All researchers of the network are of course invited and are welcome to join these special training events, but as these mini workshops and schools will concentrate on some specific topics, the participation will be restricted. In this way the working groups provide a link between the individual and the common training program. They will stimulate the exchange of ideas and collaborations among the young researchers in order to strengthen the overall unity and coherence of the network with respect to research and training. The coordinators for the 5 working groups are:

  • Basic constituents: strings and branes; Mario Petropoulos and Volker Schomerus. The report on the first workgroup meeting can be found here
  • Symmetries: supersymmetry, duality symmetry and infinite dimensional algebras; Ioannis Bakas and Dimitri Sorokin.
  • Gauge theories and (super)gravity: several correspondences; Niels Obers and Sylvia Penati. The report on the first workgroup meeting can be found here
  • Compactifications: brane world models and connection to the standard model; Costas Kounnas and Dieter Lüst.
  • The early universe: supergravity, string and brane cosmology; Pietro Fre and Matthias Blau.
  • Upcoming Lectures

    We will announce here lectures for young researchers that take place in one of the nodes, and are open to students of other nodes.

    Extra events

  • 27/9-1/10, 2004: Golm: String Steilkurs with lectures of J. Plefka (supersymmetry and supergravity), I. Runkel (Conformal Field theory) and S. Theisen (String theory).
  • 22/10-24/10, 2004: Munich: Workshop "The string vacuum project"
  • 25/04-28/04, 2005: Uppsala: "String Cosmology Workshop"
  • 4 lectures "Black holes and elementary string states" by Ashoke Sen on Tuesday May 10 - Thursday May 12, 2005 at Leuven
  • 18/05-20/05, 2005: Brussels: "Dark Matters"
  • Meeting Joaquim Gomis, "Gravity, Strings and Branes, Monday May 30 - Tuesday May 31, 2005 at Leuven
  • 13/06-18/06, 2005: Munich: Conference "String Phenomenology 2005"
  • 10/10-14/10, 2005: Munich: Workshop on cosmology and dark energy in the Arnold-Sommerfeld-Center for theoretical physics
  • 30/11-02/12, 2005: Groningen: Combined Workshop on Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics.
  • 03/04-07/04, 2006: Cambridge: 2006 annual European Superstrings Network meeting.
  • 31/03-04/04, 2006: Munich: Workshop on Black Holes, Black Rings and Topological Strings in the Arnold-Sommerfeld-Center for theoretical physics
  • 02/07-08/07, 2006: Ringberg Castle: Workshop on QCD and Strings by the Max-Planck-Institute for Physics, Munich.
  • 09/05-11/05, 2007: Brussels: Solvay Workshop on Gauge Theories, Srings and Geometry.
  • 13/06-15/06, 2007: Firenze: String and M theory approaches to particle physics and cosmology.
  • 26/08-31/08, 2007: Ascona: Conference Symmetries of String Theory.
  • 11/08-15/08, 2008: Utrecht: Workshop Integrability in Gauge and String Theory.
  • 24/11-28/11, 2008: Munich: Workshop Field Theory and Geometric Flows.

    Career developement - job openings

    Associate Professorship position in Theoretical Particle Physics at the Niels-Bohr-Institute in Copenhagen

    Public Outreach:

    Einstein symposium

    Related EC networks:

    The most related ones are
  • HPRN-CT-2000-00122: Superstring theory
  • HPRN-CT-2000-00148: Physics Across the Present Energy Frontier: Probing the Origin of Mass
  • HPRN-CT-2000-00152: Supersymmetry and the early universe
  • HPRN-CT-2000-00149: Particle Physics Phenomenology at High Energy Colliders
  • HPRN-CT-1999-00161: Discrete Random Geometries: from solid state physics to quantum gravity
  • HPRN-CT-2002-00292: The third generation as a probe for new physics. Experimental and technological approach

  • For the contact persons: Contract and reports (you need password to go further):

  • The full proposal can be obtained as a pdf file
  • The full contract including the budget can be obtained as a pdf + EXCEL-file
  • The minutes of the network meetings are included
  • More explanations and rules can be found as pdf-file
  • General information on the EC networks is available at the CORDIS website.

    Last change to this page: 16 June 2008

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    Information provider : Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München