String theory is one of the most exciting and challenging areas of modern theoretical physics. This book guides the reader from the basics of string theory to recent developments. It introduces the basics of perturbative string theory, world-sheet supersymmetry, space-time supersymmetry, conformal field theory and the heterotic string, before describing modern developments, including D-branes, string dualities and M-theory. It then covers string geometry and flux compactifications, applications to cosmology and particle physics, black holes in string theory and M-theory, and the microscopic origin of black-hole entropy. It concludes with Matrix theory, the AdS/CFT duality and its generalizations. This book is ideal for graduate students and researchers in modern string theory, and will make an excellent textbook for a one-year course on string theory. It contains over 120 exercises with solutions, and over 200 homework problems with solutions available on a password protected website for lecturers at www.cambridge.org/9780521860697.
By Dean Welch - March 10, 2007
I think this is a great book that provides not only a great introduction to string theory (there is no assumed prior knowledge of string theory), but also provides coverage of many more advanced topics as well. I think it's likely that the vast majority of students specializing in string theory will want to read it at some point in their studies.
The coverage of topics in the first few chapters is in some ways fairly standard. The first two chapters consists of a high level overview of string theory, bosonic string, the Nambu-Goto action the Polyakov action, the Virasoro algebra, the critical dimension, light code gauge and the spectra of open/closed strings. After this there is a chapter on conformal field theory, naturally emphasizing the parts relevant to string theory (including a bit of string field theory). This is followed by discussions of worldsheet supersymmetry, spacetime supersymmetry, anomalies, T-duality and heterotic strings. The writing is very clear and... read more
Best of All Worlds
By Cybertronian - March 9, 2007
This new textbook on string theory might be considered a modern pimped up version of Zwiebach's introductory course. The book is - as an introduction - better than the 2-volume set by Schwarz (Green, Schwarz, Witten), which is partly outdated, and on the same footing as Polchinski's version, but certainly not as thorough and elaborate. There is some overlap between all books (e.g. the CFT bits from Polchinski are quite similar to those in this new text, the introduction of the bosonic string via the relativistic point particle looks like the ones by Polchinski and Zwiebach, but Becker & Schwarz immediately generalise the concept to p-branes, SCFTs are discussed in a similar manner as in Polchinski, and so on), but there are additional features that really add to the value of the book: all exercises within the text have solutions directly under them, so one can either try to solve them or read them through, and some parts are explained more clearly. The concepts of "(gauge) symmetries"... read more
Great book to learn strings from
By David McMahon - February 12, 2008
This is a nice book to have if you're trying to learn string theory. The presentation is rather straightforward. What's really nice is each chapter has several solved examples. But best of all the writing is clear and its relatively (no pun intended) easy to follow the book to the end. In my opinion, this book is accessible to anyone with a basic physics (or even math) undergraduate education. Zweibach is a great book for sure, but by design it cuts corners in an attempt to make the subject accessible to undergraduates. I don't think thats really necessary (except maybe avoiding path integrals). What I like about this book is it does not cut corners. Topics that are avoided in Zweibach are definitely discussed in here.
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