ISS2003 Report
September 29 - October 9, 2003
Caspian Sea, IRAN


The organizers consisted of Vijay Balasubramanian at U. Penn, Albion Lawrence at Brandeis University , Farhad Ardalan, Mohsen Alishahiha, and Shahrokh Parvizi at IPM.  Ardalan was the principal organizer. 

The International Advisory Commitee consisted of Ardalan, Hesam Arfaei (IPM), John Ellis (CERN), David Gross (KITP/UCSB), Freydoon Mansouri (Cincinnati), Kumar Shiv Narain  (ICTP), Seifallah Randjbar-Daemi (ICTP), Leonard Susskind (Stanford), Cumrun Vafa (Harvard), and  Spenta Wadia (TIFR, Mumbai).

Balasubramanian  and Lawrence were contacted in late February and the five began discussing (with help from the international advisory committee) what subjects should be covered, which speakers to invite and how to find funds for their travel to Iran.  Planning was suspended when the Iraq war broke out, and resumed in April.  In the end,  funding from the Clay Mathematics Institute (CMI) was secured  for the US-based lecturers'  travel expenses. The ICTP in Trieste provided some funds for non-US-based participants. 

 The school

There were approximately 40 hours of lectures spread over 8 days.  The lecturers from the US were: Albion Lawrence,  Shiraz Minwalla from Harvard, Eva Silverstein from SLAC, and Leonard Susskind from Stanford.  The other lecturers were Soo-Jong Rey, from the Korean Institute for Advanced Studies (KIAS) in Seoul,  Ashoke Sen and Rajesh Gopakumar from the Harish-Chandra Research Institute (HRI) in Allahabad,  Sunil Mukhi and Wadia from the Tata Institute for Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai, Alishahiha and Parvizi from IPM, Mohammad Garousi from the IPM/Ferdowsi University in Mashad, Fawad Hassan from Stockholm, Allan Adams at the Harvard Society of Fellows, and  Randjbar-Daemi from the ICTP in Trieste. Balasubramanian, unfortunately, found at the last minute that he was unable to attend for personal reasons.

Following the lectures there was a half-day workshop consisting of presentations by students and recently graduate postdocs, from both Iran and the US.

The lectures ranged from introductory ones on cosmology (by Lawrence), the physics of spacetimes with cosmological constants (Susskind), recent developments in string  cosmology (Silverstein), large-N gauge theories (Minwalla), tachyon condensation and nonperturbative open string physics (Sen and Garousi), matrix models of low-dimensional string compactifications (Mukhi and Wadia), open-closed string dualities (Gopakumar), nonperturbative techniques in supersymmetric field theories (Alishahiha), recent developments in "N=1/2" supersymmetry (Rey), higher-dimensional supergravity theories (Randjbar-Daemi), worldsheet techniques in open string theory (Hassan), the Dijkgraaf-Vafa conjectures for nonperturbative calculations in supersymmetric gauge theories (Parvizi), and recent developments in two-dimensional field theories (Adams).  The  lectures ranged from elementary to advanced and topical, and were arranged so that one led to the next.

The majority of the participants were from Iran, including some Iranian students studying abroad. 

We had one student from India, four participants from Azerbaijan, and five US-based students, two of whom had recently completed their PhDs. 

There was ample interaction between US and Iranian participants, more so as the school went on.  It was quite successful in terms of both scientific and cultural exchange.

Proceedings and reports

The lectures will hopefully published, possibly through the AIP.   In the meantime the proceedings will be online through the hep-th eprint arc

Few Comments by Albion Lawrence to his U.S. Colleagues