Metastring theory and modular space-time
Leigh, Robert G.
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String theory is canonically accompanied with a space-time interpretation which determines S-matrix-like observables, and connects to the standard physics at low energies in the guise of local effective field theory. Recently, we have introduced a reformulation of string theory which does not rely on an a priori space-time interpretation or a pre-assumption of locality. This metastring theory is formulated in such a way that stringy symmetries (such as T-duality) are realized linearly. In this paper, we study metastring theory on a flat background and develop a variety of technical and interpretational ideas. These include a formulation of the moduli space of Lorentzian worldsheets, a careful study of the symplectic structure and consequently consistent closed and open boundary conditions, and the string spectrum and operator algebra. What emerges from these studies is a new quantum notion of space-time that we refer to as a quantum Lagrangian or equivalently a modular space-time. This concept embodies the standard tenets of quantum theory and implements in a precise way a notion of relative locality. The usual string backgrounds (non-compact space-time along with some toroidally compactified spatial directions) are obtained from modular space-time by a limiting procedure that can be thought of as a correspondence limit.