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Durham University

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Publication details for Simon Ross

Balasubramanian, Vijay, Kar, Arjun, Ross, Simon F. & Ugajin, Tomonori (2020). Spin structures and baby universes. Journal of High Energy Physics 2020(9): 192.

Author(s) from Durham


We extend a 2d topological model of the gravitational path integral to include sums over spin structure, corresponding to Neveu-Schwarz (NS) or Ramond (R) boundary conditions for fermions. This path integral corresponds to a correlator of boundary creation operators on a non-trivial baby universe Hilbert space, and vanishes when the number of R boundaries is odd. This vanishing implies a non-factorization of the correlator, which necessitates a dual interpretation of the bulk path integral in terms of a product of partition functions (associated to NS boundaries) and Witten indices (associated to R boundaries), averaged over an ensemble of theories with varying Hilbert space dimension and different numbers of bosonic and fermionic states. We also consider a model with End-of-the-World (EOW) branes, for which the dual ensemble then includes a sum over randomly chosen fermionic and bosonic states. We propose two modifications of the bulk path integral which restore an interpretation in a single dual theory: (i) a geometric prescription where we add extra boundaries with a sum over their spin structures, and (ii) an algebraic prescription involving “spacetime D-branes”. We extend our ideas to Jackiw-Teitelboim gravity, and propose a dual description of a single unitary theory with spin structure in a system with eigenbranes.