Physics 805: String Theory I

Spring 2003

Instructor: Gary Shiu

Time and Place: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8:15-9:30 am, Chamberlin 5280

Office: Chamberlin 5279

Office Hours: By appointment

Phone: (608) 265-3285


Course Description

This is an introduction to the basic concepts and techniques of string theory. The hope is that students, with basic knowledge of Special Relativity and Quantum Field Theory will acquire from the course a working knowledge of many of the essential features of string theory. Tentative topics include conformal field theory, techniques of perturbative string theory, compactifications (e.g., toroidal, orbifolds, Calabi-Yau manifolds), and some modern aspects such as duality, D-branes, orientifolds and M theory.

Textbooks: String Theory by Joseph Polchinski, Cambridge University Press

Tentative Course Outline:

  • Overview
  • Classical String Theory
  • Quantization of the Bosonic String and the String Spectrum
  • Conformal Field Theory
  • Tree-Level Amplitude
  • One-Loop Amplitude
  • Toroidal Compactification, T-duality and (Bosonic) D-branes
  • Superstrings: Type II, Heterotic, and Type I Strings
  • Anomalies
  • More on Compactification: Orbifolds
  • String Dualities
  • Advanced Topics: More on D-branes, Orientifolds, M Theory, and Brane World

  • Homework:

  • Problem Set 1 (Postscript, PDF)
  • Problem Set 2 (Postscript, PDF)

  • Gary Shiu

    February 14, 2003