Over the last fifteen years we have witnessed a tremendous progress in our understanding of gauge and string theories. This process has created a consistent gap between the standard education offered by Italian Universities and the actual frontiers of modern research in the field. The fast development of the subject does not allow theoretical courses throughout Italian PhD schools to provide an introduction to advanced aspects of gauge and string theories. Therefore, interested students do not get the necessary mathematical and theoretical background to profit of the vast literature. As a consequence, the amount of time devoted to original researches is considerably reduced (within the strict three-years deadline to accomplish PhD studies), often resulting in a limited number of publications as compared to their colleagues abroad. This last feature clearly affects their chances to obtain a good post-doctoral position from leading Institutions.


The Advanced Lectures on Fields and Strings

The aim of the school is to bring together every year PhD students with interests in supersymmetry, supergravity, string theory and gauge theories from graduate schools all-over Italy. We offer to them intense courses on the relevant basics, on the recent advances of gauge and string theories, and on the necessary mathematical tools. Clearly, this will help students to interact in a stimulating environment among themselves and with active scientists. In addition, it provides a solid and more specialised background in theoretical physics to get a grasp on the literature, to benefit from conferences and advanced international schools and, last but not least, to carry on successful research during the short period of their graduate studies.

We plan to offer, within the academic year, six different courses of 20 hours each, to be held at the Galileo Galilei Institute, accordingly with its current activities. The first set of three courses should take place in late winter/early spring (February/March) and should be devoted to consolidate the mathematical background and to introduce basic concepts in rigid supersymmetry and perturbative string theory.
The second set of lectures should take place in the late fall/early winter (November/December) and should deal with supergravity theories in various dimensions, with more advanced topics in gauge and string theory, and with possibly special lectures on more phenomenological aspects of Physics Beyond the Standard Model. This should be a common background for any PhD student with interests in Particle Physics, also in view of the new results that are expected from LHC.

We believe that splitting the lectures in two different periods of the year not only will comply with the activities of the GGI but, more importantly, will allow students to assimilate the basic material of the first lectures before they are exposed to more advanced topics. This sensibly distinguishes our proposal from other similar advanced international schools were students are subject to an intense consecutive teaching with little time to metabolise the topics.
The exact content of the more advanced courses will vary from year to year depending on the hot topics of the moment and on the preferences of individual lecturers. This opens the possibility to each student to profit of the school more than one time, learning different subjects during his PhD.

Lectures are delivered essentially in the morning. Students are expected to work on problems in the afternoons and some time will be devoted to collective discussions and working groups. A final test will be also considered.
Since the school is hosted by the GGI, reimbursements are offered according to GGI rules (70 Euros per day per person). We expect to be able to support about 15 students for the each period. GGI has special arrangements for accommodation in Florence, with prices ranging from 50 to 65 Euros per night per person. We expect that local PhD schools and research groups might be able to complete the financial support. Special situations can also be considered.

Florence, February 14, 2008