Prof David Berman

Prof David Berman

Professor of Theoretical Physics
School of Physics and Astronomy
Queen Mary, University of London
327 Mile End Road, London, E1 4NS

Telephone: 020 7882 5796
Room: G O Jones 607
Visit my personal website

My research interests

My main research interests are in M-theory, the nonperturbative version of string theory. The extended objects in M-theory are membranes and five-branes. They are related to strings and D-branes in string theory via dimensional reduction. Over the last few years my research has been devoted to understanding the interactions of these branes. My other interests over the years have been varied and include: Holography and the AdS/CFT coresspondence; noncommutative geometry; and S-duality in gauge theories. Since 2010, I have been interested in applying and extending the ideas of generalised geometry to M-theory. This has produced a duality manifest description of M-theory and has lead to a reworking of many ideas in relativity to take into account duality symmetries in string and M-theory. This is still on going research and has many applications in terms of potentially reformulating what string theory is. 

My teaching

I currently teach Electric and Magnetic Fields for 1st year undergraduates and the third year course Spacetime and Gravity. I also supervise various theoretical projects for 3rd and 4th year students. Over the years I have been nominated for numerous teaching awards and won the most inspiration lecturer award by the student physics society in 2013.

My grants

I am currently supported by an STFC grant for my research in M-theory. I also hold a public understanding of science grant from STFC for a partnership with the Millennium Maths Project in Cambridge.

My talks

Invited plenary talks:

String Field Theory 2016, Sao Paulo

Simons Institute meeting (2016).

F-theory at 20 conference, CalTech (2016) "An action for F-theory". 

CERN, Recent Developments in M-theory, (2016) "F-theory from EFT". 

Zurich ETH workshop (2016) “Cosmology and extended geometries”

APCTP meeting on extended geometries (2016) “Extended geometries”, "Solutions in EFT".

Schrodinger Institute workshop on higher gauge symmetries (2015) “Higher structures in extended geometries”

Korean conference on “Developments in M-theory” (2015) “Branes in extended geometry”

Frontiers in String Phenomenology, Schloss Ringberg (2014) “Extended geometry”

Kyoto workshop on generalised geometry (2014) “Extended geometry and quantisation"

Banff, M-theory conference (2014) “The origin of extended geometry"

Great Brampton meeting (2014) “Branes in extended geometries”

Strings2013- Korea (2013) “M-theory and extended geometries"

Cooks Branch meeting (2013) “Scherk-Schwarz reductions in extended geometry”

Durham workshop on strings and branes (2013) “U-duality and geometry"

Cooks Branch meeting (2012) “Local symmetries in generalised geometry”

Spanish Winter conference, Madrid (2012) “A survey of M-theory and generalised geometry"

Banff on Generalized Geometry (2012) “U-duality manifest theories"

Korean Institute for Advanced Studies Fall conference on strings and Branes (2012)

“Generalised geometry for M-theory"

Songang University EU meeting on double field theory, integrability and M-branes (2012), “Extended geometries"

Palencia strings meeting (2012), “Membranes and generalised geometry"

Stockhom workshop on Quantum Geometry (2011) “M-theory geometry".

Niels Bohr Institute workshop (2011), “Duality and generalised geometry".

Cooks Branch Meeting, Texas (2011) “U-duality and generalized geometry”

PICS meeting (2010), “M-theory and generalised geometry".

Cooks Branch Meeting, Texas, (2010) “Fermionic T-duality”

Galileo Institute Florence (2010), “M-theory and generalised geometry".

Cooks Branch Meeting, Texas (2009) “Boundaries of interacting membranes”

Korean Institute for advanced study conference on string theory (2008), “Interacting membranes"

Eurostrings08, RTN network meeting, Varna (2008), “Interacting membranes".

Brussels Triangle one day meeting (2008), “M-theory branes and their interactions".

Noncommutative geometry and physics (2008), Shonan Kokusaimura in Kanagawa, “M-

theory and noncommutative geometry".

Ascona Strings Meeting (2007) “String theory in the doubled formalism".

Eurostrings07, RTN meeting, Crete, “Fuzzy Geometries in M-theory".

Conference on noncommutative geometry in physics, Issac Newton Institute (2006), “Non-commutative geometry in string and M-theory".

Niels Bohr Institute summer workshop (2006), “Fuzzy Geometries in M-theory".

Eurostrings06, RTN network meeting, Cambridge (2006), “M-theory and the string genus


Beyond the horizon, KITP Santa Barbara (2006), “M-theory origin of string perturbation


The Triangle meeting on Nonperturbative aspects in string and field theory, Copenhagen (2000) “Open membranes and noncommutative five branes".

The Fradkin Memorial conference, Moscow (2000) “Critical fields on the five brane and non-commutative open strings".

Quantum Aspects of Gauge theories, Supersymmetry and Unifcation, Paris (1999) “Holograpy and rotating black holes".

Quantum Aspects of Gauge theories, Supersymmetry and Unification, Corfu (1998) “The M-five brane on a torus".


Invited Seminars

“Branes in Extended geometry”: Hannover (2015), Lyon (2014), Amsterdam (2014), Edinburgh (2014)

“Extended geometry in M-theory”: Buenos Aires (2014), Lisbon (2013), Imperial College (2013), Paris (2013) Sogang University, Soeul (2012)

“M-theory and generalised geometry”: Brussels (2011); Oxford (2011); Amsterdam (2011); Kings College London (2011); Cambridge (2010).

“Recent progress in String theory”: University of Kent (2010).

“Aspects of interacting multiple membranes”: Perimeter institute, Canada (2009); Kings College London (2009); DAMTP, Cambridge (2008); Niels Bohr Institute (2008); Jerusalem (2008); Brussels (2008).

“String Theory and the doubled formalism”: Tokyo (2008); Edinburgh (2008); Rome (2007); Texas A&M (2007).

“Noncommutativity in string and M-theory”: Rome (2007); Texas A&M (2007);

University of Oxford (Department of Mathematics) (2007).

“M-theory and the string genus expansion”: University of Durham (2006); ICTP Trieste (2006); University of Cambridge (2006); University of Sussex (2005).

“Self-dual string Anomalies”: CERN Theory division (2004); University of Amsterdam (2004); Niels Bohr Institute Copenhagen (2004); Harvard University (2004); MIT (2004); University of Chicago (2004); University of Michigan (2004);

“Membranes, Ribbons and Schild Strings”: Imperial College London (2004).

“M five-brane dynamics”:

Kings College, University of London (2004); University of Cambridge (2003); University of Durham (2003); University of Swansea (2003); University of Michigan (2003); University of Chicago(2003).

“Open Membranes”: Humbolt University, Berlin (2002); University of Uppsala (2002)

“AdS3 OM-theory”: Princeton University (2001); Columbia University, New York (2001); Les Houches School (2001); University of Utrecht (2001); University of Groningen (2001); Neve Shalom Centre of Excellence meeting, Israel (2001)

“A noncommutative five brane”: Humbolt University, Berlin (2001)

Queen Mary College (2000); Landelijk meeting Amsterdam (2000); University of Goteborg (2000); University of Utrecht (2000); University of Cambridge (2000).

“Black hole thermodynamics and AdS/CFT”: University of Leuven (2000)

Landelijk Meeting Amsterdam (1999).

“Branes and dualities”: University of Groningen (1998); University of Manchester (1998).


I am director of outreach for the School of Physics and Astronomy. I have a long standing interest in public engagement in many different forms and have over the years built up a variety of activities at the boundary between science and arts. A list of my outreach activities is available here.

My collaborators

Over the years I have worked with lots of people from around the world.

Here is a list (ordered in terms of number of joint publications):

D.C.Thompson (Brussels), M.J.Perry (Cambridge), P.Sundell (Chile) , E.A.Bergshoeff (Groningen), F.J.Rudolph (Queen Mary), J.P.van.der.Schaar (Amsterdam), M.Cederwall (Goteborg), N.B.Copland (Cambridge), H.Godazgar (Cambridge), B.E.W.Nilsson (Goteborg), C.D.A.Blair (Brussels), E.Malek (Munich), E.T.Musaev (Moscow), H.Larsson (Gotebrog), J.Berkeley (Queen Mary), L.C.Tadrowski (Queen Mary), M.K.Parikh (Arizona), M.Nielsen (Goteborg), U.Gran (Gotebrog), A.Kleinschmidt (Potsdam), B.Pioline (CERN), E.Rabinovici (Jerusalem), E.Sezgin (Texas), I.Bakhmatov (Kazan), J.A.Harvey (Chicago), J.Bedford (Queen Mary), K.H.Lee (KIAS, Seoul), M.Godazgar (Cambridge), P.C.West (Kings London) and V.L.Campos (Goteborg).

This is not an exhaustive list and I would be happy to discuss other project possibilities.


Most popular publications

Generalized Geometry and M theory
Berman, David S. et al.
JHEP, Volume 1106, page 074. Publication year: 2011

DOI: 10.1007/JHEP06(2011)074

Duality Symmetric String and M-Theory
Berman, David S. et al.
Phys.Rept., Volume 566, page 1-60. Publication year: 2014

DOI: 10.1016/j.physrep.2014.11.007

A Noncommutative M theory five-brane
Bergshoeff, E. et al.
Nucl.Phys., Volume B590, page 173-197. Publication year: 2000

DOI: 10.1016/S0550-3213(00)00476-4

The gauge structure of generalised diffeomorphisms
Berman, David S. et al.
JHEP, Volume 1301, page 064. Publication year: 2013

DOI: 10.1007/JHEP01(2013)064

Duality Invariant Actions and Generalised Geometry
Berman, David S. et al.
JHEP, Volume 1202, page 108. Publication year: 2012

DOI: 10.1007/JHEP02(2012)108