- Paperback: 424 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press (June 20, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521672279
- ISBN-13: 978-0521672276
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.9 x 9.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #351,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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String Theory, Vol. 1 (Cambridge Monographs on Mathematical Physics)
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"...the most comprehensive text addressing the discoveries of the superstring revolutions of the early to mid 1990's, which mark the beginnings of 'modern' string theory."
Donald Marolf, University of California Santa Barbara, American Journal of Physics
"Physicists believe that the best hope for a fundamental theory of nature--including unification of quantum mechanics with general relativity and elementary particle theory--lies in string theory. This elegant mathematical physics subject is expounded by Joseph Polchinski in two volumes from Cambridge University Press...Written for advanced students and researchers, this set provides thorough and up-to-date knowledge."
"...this is an impressive book. It is notable for its consistent line of development and the clarity and insight with which topics are treated...It is hard to think of a better text in an advanced graduate area, and it is rare to have one written by a master of the subject. It is worth pointing out that the book also contains a collection of useful problems, a glossary, and an unusually complete index."
"We would like to stress the pedagogical value of the present book. The approach taken is modern and pleasantly systematic, and it covers a broad class of results in a unified language. A set of exercises at the end of each chapter complements the discussions in the main text. On the other hand, the introduction of techniques and concepts essential in the context of superstrings makes it a useful reference for researchers in the field."
"Polchinski's books are a classic textbook on string theory. And I recommend it to you if you want to start the study of string theory... the first volume is an excellent textbook and a great introduction to string theory. Presents some deep chapters, but overall a great book for any student interested in entering the world of string theory. The book is consistent with the objective set out, well written for graduate students and probably one of the best textbooks on the market about string theory and shall remain so for a long time. these two books are great and of excellent quality. The book is consistent with the goal set in the early chapters, presents clear language with few errors and with a high degree of mathematical rigor. The book contains an excellent range of problems and an excellent glossary and the educational value of this book is incalculable. Definitely these books are references for the study in string theory and it will stay with this position."
Philosophy, Religion and Science Book Reviews Blog
String theory has advanced rapidly over the last 15 years and is increasingly seen as the best, and perhaps only, route to the complete unification of the four fundamental forces--the so-called "theory of everything". This text provides, in two volumes, a thoroughly modern and comprehensive introduction to strings and superstrings, and brings the reader up to date on the latest developments in string duality, M-theory, D-branes, and the application of string theory to black hole quantum mechanics. The author is one of the world's top string theorists, and is also known as a clear and cogent writer. The two volumes are written at a level appropriate to graduate students in physics. This is the first major textbook on strings since the two volume work of Green, Schwartz and Witten 10 years ago (which sold extraordinarily well, reprinting within a month of publication). The main market for the book is theoretical physicists, particle physicists, astrophysicists, cosmologists and applied mathematicians. However, this is an accessible book on one of the most fundamental questions in physics by a top researcher. It has all the ingredients to be a best seller.
Top customer reviews
This review is for the quality of this paper back edition. This edition is called "On-demand digital printing edition". Right after you place the order, the publisher will print one exact copy of this book by their laser printer, and bind it and then ship it to you. The quality is just like cheap Indian edition, The cover looks especially cheap, and will be broken into two pieces miniutes after you first open the book. The cut is not even aligned. It is worth no more than $20.
Volume I covers the bosonic string. Of course this doesn't provide a realistic model for our universe, but understanding it forms the foundation of the study of more realistic string theories.
The first chapter provides the physical motivation for string theory. A brief description of some current unsolved problems in physics, and how string theory may resolve them, is given. Most notably this includes not only providing a quantum theory of gravity, but also providing a grand unified theory. A brief outline of techniques used throughout the book is given. These are covered in more detail as the book develops and include: the Polyakov action (how to get it from the Nambu-Goto form and why it's more useful), the Polyakov action symmetries, string theory as a two-dimensional quantum field theory, string boundary conditions, the string spectra, supersymmetry (worldsheet and spacetime) and the critical dimension. This is an excellent introduction and nicely sets the stage for the rest of the book.
The next chapter presents conformal field theory. It's also an excellent introduction. In particular covering conformal field theory with anticommuting fields. The Virasoro algebra is also derived. He could have covered these conformal field theory concepts as they came up, but I liked having them in one central location early in the book.
Strings take center stage again in the following chapter as the Polyakov path integral is examined in great detail. Among the results are a calculation of the critical dimension and the recovery of general relativity in the low energy limit of string theory. These are just a couple of the interesting results, there is much more in this chapter.
The following chapters quantize the string, calculate the string spectrum, derive the S-matrix, calculate tree level scattering amplitudes and calculate one-loop amplitudes (higher order amplitudes are covered in the final chapter). One of many things that stand out is his discussion of divergences. He describes the difference between infrared and ultraviolet divergences. After showing ultraviolet divergences are absent in string theory he comments on how the mechanisms that remove them is different for open and closed strings. This is just one example of how physical concepts are kept at the forefront.
The chapter on compactification covers more than just the basics such as (D - 4) dimensions must be compactified and this gives rise to some extra gauge fields. Orbifolds are introduced in this chapter. It also covers T-duality, one of the important (and unexpected) symmetries of string theories. D-branes are also introduced (D-branes are covered in more detail in volume II), obviously this is an important concept in string theory. I was happy to see such important concepts introduced so quickly.
In short, this is a great book. Even with only light coverage of supersymmetry (this is covered in detail in volume II) many interesting and up-to-date topics are presented. Clearly the author put a lot of time into thinking about how to make a difficult subject as approachable as possible. Throughout the book he anticipates questions the reader may have, or maybe should have, and addresses them.