Global Anomalies in String Theory

Abstract: Various questions involving global anomalies in particle theory and string theory are addressed. It is shown that the question of whether a manifold is a spin manifold is equivalent to a question about global anomalies in the propagation of a point paricle. In the superstring case, it is shown that the measure of the heterotic theory has no global anomalies on any Riemann surface. This generalizes known one loop results. Also, a topological condition is derived which restricts the possible choices of Wilson lines for grand unified symmetry breaking. It is argued that the long-term development of global anomalies in string theory will involve eventual study of global anomalies in the determinant of the Dirac-Ramond operator. (link to pdf)