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Looking for structure in the cobordism conjecture

David Andriot, Nils Carqueville, Niccolò Cribiori

SciPost Phys. 13, 071 (2022) · published 28 September 2022


The cobordism conjecture of the swampland program states that the bordism group of quantum gravity must be trivial. We investigate this statement in several directions, on both the mathematical and physical side. We consider the Whitehead tower construction as a possible organising principle for the topological structures entering the formulation of the conjecture. We discuss why and how to include geometric structures in bordism groups, such as higher U(1)-bundles with connection. The inclusion of magnetic defects is also addressed in some detail. We further elaborate on how the conjecture could predict Kaluza--Klein monopoles, and we study the gravity decoupling limit in the cobordism conjecture, with a few observations on NSNS string backgrounds. We end with comments in relation to T-duality, as well as the finiteness conjecture.

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