Flavor physics in M theory

M theory, which is eleven-dimensional, compactified on a seven-dimensional manifold with G(2) holonomy leads to a low energy effective field theory with N=1 supersymmetry. This is important for phenomenology because only N=1 supersymmetry allows for chiral gauge theories such as the standard model (of course no supersymmetry would also work, but we want the supersymmetry for various reasons). The chiral matter and nonabelian gauge groups live at conical singularities in the G(2) manifold, so we are not talking about a smooth manifold. Flavor physics has to do with the interactions of quarks and leptons that distinguish between the generations and explain a rich variety of phenomena. In the G(2) compactifications all of this physics is ultimately due to the geometry of the compact manifold. Couplings between different flavors are determined by M2 brane instantons wrapping three cycles such as a three-sphere in the compact space. We are exploring this phenomenon and making estimates of flavor violation both in the quark and charged lepton sectors. This is a pressing issue because experimental progress in the charged lepton flavor violation is expected to be substantial in the coming years, with upper bounds on rare processes expected to be lowered by orders of magnitude.