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String Theory

String Theory

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Published by: mtrespi on Aug 14, 2009
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Preprint typeset in JHEP style - PAPER VERSION
January 2009
String Theory
University of Cambridge Part III Mathematical Tripos
Dr David Tong
Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics,Centre for Mathematical Sciences,Wilberforce Road,Cambridge, CB3 OWA, UK 
Recommended Books and Resources
J. Polchinski,
String Theory 
This two volume work is the standard introduction to the subject. Our lectures willmore or less follow the path laid down in volume one covering the bosonic string. Thebook contains explanations and descriptions of many details that have been deliberately(and, I suspect, at times inadvertently) swept under a very large rug in these lectures.Volume two covers the superstring.
M. Green, J. Schwarz and E. Witten,
Superstring Theory 
Another two volume set. It is now over 20 years old and takes a slightly old-fashionedroute through the subject, with no explicit mention of conformal field theory. How-ever, it does contain much good material and the explanations are uniformly excellent.Volume one is most relevant for these lectures.
B. Zwiebach,
A First Course in String Theory 
This book grew out of a course given to undergraduates who had no previous exposureto general relativity or quantum field theory. It has wonderful pedagogical discussionsof the basics of lightcone quantization. More surprisingly, it also has some very cleardescriptions of several advanced topics, even though it misses out all the bits in between.
P. Di Francesco, P. Mathieu and D. en´echal,
Conformal Field Theory 
This big yellow book is affectionately known as the yellow pages. It’s a great wayto learn conformal field theory. At first glance, it comes across as slightly dauntingbecause it’s big. (And yellow). But you soon realise that it’s big because it starts atthe beginning and provides detailed explanations at every step. The material necessaryfor this course can be found in chapters 5 and 6.Further References:
String Theory and M-Theory 
” by Becker, Becker and Schwarzand “
String Theory in a Nutshell 
” (it’s a big nutshell) by Kiritsis both deal with thebosonic string fairly quickly, but include more advanced topics that may be of interest.The book “
” by Johnson has lively and clear discussions about the many joysof D-branes. Links to several excellent online resources, including video lectures byShiraz Minwalla, are listed on the course webpage.
0. Introduction 1
0.1 Quantum Gravity 3
1. The Relativistic String 9
1.1 The Relativistic Point Particle 91.1.1 Quantization 111.1.2 Ein Einbein 131.2 The Nambu-Goto Action 141.2.1 Symmetries of the Nambu-Goto Action 171.2.2 Equations of Motion 181.3 The Polyakov Action 181.3.1 Symmetries of the Polyakov Action 201.3.2 Fixing a Gauge 221.4 Mode Expansions 251.4.1 The Constraints Revisited 26
2. The Quantum String 28
2.1 A Lightning Look at Covariant Quantization 282.1.1 Ghosts 302.1.2 Constraints 302.2 Lightcone Quantization 322.2.1 Lightcone Gauge 332.2.2 Quantization 362.3 The String Spectrum 402.3.1 The Tachyon 402.3.2 The First Excited States 412.3.3 Higher Excited States 452.4 Lorentz Invariance Revisited 462.5 A Nod to the Superstring 48
3. Open Strings and D-Branes 50
3.1 Quantization 533.1.1 The Ground State 543.1.2 First Excited States: A World of Light 551

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