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String Theory and M-Theory: A Modern Introduction

4.3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521860697
ISBN-10: 0521860695
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Editorial Reviews


"This is the first comprehensive textbook on string theory to also offer an up-to-date picture of the most important theoretical developments of the last decade, including the AdS/CFT correspondence and flux compactifications, which have played a crucial role in modern efforts to make contact with experiment. An excellent resource for graduate students as well as researchers in high-energy physics and cosmology."
Nima Arkani-Hamed, Harvard University

"An exceptional introduction to string theory that contains a comprehensive treatment of all aspects of the theory, including recent developments. The clear pedagogical style and the many excellent exercises should provide the interested student or researcher a straightforward path to the frontiers of current research."
David Gross, Director of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of California, Santa Barabara and winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2004

"Masterfully written by pioneers of the subject, comprehensive, up-to-date and replete with illuminating problem sets and their solution, String Theory and M-theory: A Modern Introduction provides an ideal preparation for research on the current forefront of the fundamental laws of nature. It is destined to become the standard textbook in the subject."
Andrew Strominger, Harvard University

"This book is a magnificcent resource for students and researchers alike in the rapidly evolving field of string theory. It is unique in that it is targeted for students without any knowledge of string theory and at the same time it includes the very latest developments of the field, all presented in a very fluid and simple form. The lucid description is nicely complemented by very instructive problems. I highly recommend this book to all researchers interested in the beautiful field of string theory."
Cumrun Vafa, Harvard University

"This elegantly written book will be a valuable resource for students looking for an entryway to the vast and exciting topic of string theory. The authors have skillfully made a selection of topics aimed at helping the beginner get up to speed. I am sure it will be widely read."
Edward Witten, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton and winner of the Fields Medal in 1990

"A welcome addition to the literature and most likely will be the required text for those physicists who intend to study the many facets of this fascinating subject... String Theory and M-Theory is THE string textbook."
Pierre Ramond, University of Florida, Gainesville, Physics Today

"... a beautiful description of almost all the questions in the field that have been answered so far and those that are still open. The reader of the book gets a good picture of the current state of string theory..."
Marcel L. Vonk, Johannesburg, Mathematical Reviews

Book Description

This book guides the reader through string theory, one of the most exciting and challenging areas of modern theoretical physics. It is ideal for graduate students and researchers in modern string theory, and will make an excellent textbook. It contains exercises with solutions, and homework problems with solutions.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 739 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (January 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521860695
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521860697
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.5 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #770,380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dean Welch on March 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
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 considering the nature of the material, fairly straight forward. There are two things that I considered exceptional strengths. One is that the discussions incorporate D-branes, M-theory and the (unexpected) symmetries of string theory early on. The other is that there are numerous worked examples, as there are throughout the book.
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Format: Hardcover
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" are discussed slightly better than by Polchsinki or GSW, but for those who want mathematical proofs instead of hand-waving arguments, and more background material on supersymmetry, I can only say that I have found no books on string theory that really do that. Both are subjects of study on their own and would go "beyond the scope" of these books... Nevertheless, a very good introduction and most of all: up to date!Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I definitely fell into an odd class of people who wanted to educate myself about string theory, yet I am not and will never be an academic physicist. What I needed was a text that introduced string theory and its mathematical underpinnings in a rigorous way, but one that was geared more for well informed, mathematically inclined amateurs, than for graduate students.

This book fit the bill very nicely. It is not a "popular" account of the field for interested non-science majors, but it is doubtlessly a good text for an undergraduate level course in string theory for physics majors. If you prefer to avoid calculus, linear algebra, geometry, and math in general, this book is not for you. For that matter, if you don't have a reasonable grasp of quantum field theory and relativity, this book is not for you.

The great strength of this work, for me, was the clear and concise explanations of the material. Although I do own both Barton Zwiebach's, "A First Course in String Theory" and Elias Kiritsis's, "String Theory in a Nutshell" only very rarely did I feel the need to consult either of those to clarify the points made by the authors in this book.

The one niggling criticism I have is that I would have preferred there be more exercises and problems throughout the book. At least for my purposes, being engaged in self-study, struggling through exercises is key to cementing the concepts in my mind.
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