
String theory
Period II, autumn semester 2018. Course code FFM485/FIM480, 7.5 hp.
News:
Dec 20: Please book a time for oral exam via email. List of
available hours:
Mon Jan 14: 1010.30, 10.3011, 1111.30, 1313.30,
13.3014, 1414.30, 14.3015
Tue Jan 15: 1313.30, 13.3014, 1414.30, 14.3015
Thu Jan 17: 9.3010, 1010.30, 10.3011, 1111.30, 1313.30,
13.3014, 1414.30, 14.3015
Fri Jan 18: 9.3010, 1010.30, 10.3011, 1111.30
Dec 12: The lecture Monday Dec 17 is moved to Wednesday Dec
19, 13pm.
Dec 4: The 3rd home assignment is available below.
Nov 21: The 2nd home assignment is available below.
Oct 23: The home page is now reasonably updated.


Literature:

Barton Zwiebach, "A first course in string theory", 2nd ed., Cambridge
Univ. Press 2009. ISBN13 0471925675

Lecturer:
Examination is done with home assignments
and an oral examination.
Schedule
from TimeEdit
Lectures: Monday 1012 weeks 17; Wednesday 1012 weeks 4,
6 and 7; Wednesday 1315 weeks 1 and 3; Friday 810 weeks 1 and 5; Friday
1012 weeks 2 and 4.
Plan:
Week 1: Chapters 14
Background material: Special (and general) relativity, quantum
mechanics, units, extra dimensions, Maxwell theory, Lagrangian
formalism, vibrations.
Everything will
not be lectured. Use the book and the exercises to make sure your
knowledge is up to date.
Recommended exercise problems: 2.2, 2.5, 2.6; 3.1, 3.4, 3.5,
3.7, 3.9, 3.10, 3.11; 4.5.
Week 2: Chapters 58
Classical dynamics of relativistic point particles and
strings. Coupling to background fields. Charges and conservation laws.
Recommended exercise problems:
5.3, 5.4, 5.5; 6.2, 6.6; 7.2, 7.3, 7.5; 8.1, 8.5.
Home assignment 1, due Friday Nov. 16.
 Write the action for the EinsteinMaxwell system, i.e., gravity and
electromagnetism, in arbitrary
dimensionality. Show that the electromagnetic stress tensor is
traceless only in four dimensions. What can this have to do with
conformal invariance?
 Problem 5.7 in Zwiebach.
The answer doesn't look very covariant, with derivatives
on the metric (and the statement "the metric is constant" is certainly
coordinatedependent). Rewrite the equations of motion in terms of the
affine connection (the Christoffel symbol) to obtain the geodesic equation.

Problem 6.10 in Zwiebach.
Please hand in printed material produced by TeX/LaTeX in a box outside
room O6102.
Week 3: Chapters 912
Lightcone physics: strings, particles and fields. Relativistic
quantum particles and open strings.
Recommended exercise problems:
9.1, 9.2, 9.3; 10.2, 10.3, 10.4; 11.1, 11.2, 11.5.
Week 4: Chapters 13, 24
Relativistic quantum closed strings. Covariant quantisation.
Recommended exercise problems:
12.1, 12.2, 12.3, 12.4, 12.5; 13.1, 13.2; 24.1.
Home assignment 2, due Monday Dec. 3:
 Linearise Einstein's equations in the absence of sources.
 Problems 10.7, 11.5, 11.6, 12.6 and 24.2.
Week 5: Chapter 14
Relativistic superstrings.
Recommended exercise problems:
14.1, 14.2, 14.4
Week 6: Chapters 1519
Tduality. Dbranes.
Recommended exercise problems:
16.1, 16.4, 16.6, 17.13, 18.5, 19.1, 19.4
Week 7: Chapters 2526
Home assignment 3,
due Friday Jan. 4.
Oral examination Jan. 1418.
(If you are leaving around Christmas, it is possible to do
the oral exam earlier. It is then necessary to hand in the 3rd
home assignment no later than Dec. 19, and at least 2 days before
the examination.)
Links:
David Tong, "Lectures on string theory",
arXiv:0908.0333
