Compactifications of string theory have the potential to form a bridge between what we believe is a consistent quantum theory of gravity in 10 spacetime dimensions and observed physics in four dimensions. At the same time, beautiful results from mathematics, especially algebraic geometry, are directly linked to some of the key concepts in modern particle and quantum field theory. This theory colloquium will illustrate some of these ideas in the context of F-theory, which provides a non-perturbative formulation of a class of string compactifications in their geometric regime. Recent applications of F-theory range from very concrete suggestions to address known challenges in physics beyond the Standard Model to the 'physicalization of geometry' to the construction and investigations of strongly coupled quantum field theories in various dimensions. After reviewing examples of such applications we will conclude by demonstrating the close links between geometry and physics in F-theory via some new results on the role of the Chow group of elliptic fibrations for anomaly cancellation in the effective action.