Physics 234B: String Theory II
Spring 2008
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list of papers available for the reading assignment
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preliminary weekbyweek outline
Basic Info
Time: Tue and Thu, 9:4011am (lectures); Thu 4:105pm
(discussions).
Place: 402 Le Conte Hall
Instructor:
Petr Hořava
(email: horava@berkeley.edu)
Offices  campus: 401 Le Conte Hall; LBNL: 50A5107.
This course is a continuation of
234A,
focusing on the nonperturbative structure of string theory, and its
implications. The Department's official syllabus for this new 234A/B
sequence can be viewed
here (for 234A:
String Theory I), and
here (for 234B:
String Theory II).
The main official textbook will be
K. Becker, M. Becker and J.H. Schwarz, String Theory and MTheory.
A Modern Introduction (Cambridge U.P., 2006),
and also the newly published
E. Kiritsis, String Theory in a Nutshell (Princeton U.P.,
2007).
However, since the material covered in this course is very modern and recent,
we will have to make frequent detours into extra material, using arXiv review
papers, and sometimes J. Polchinski's String Theory (in particular,
Volume II). For lowenergy supergravity, GreenSchwarzWitten is also a
useful source, even though it does not cover the modern duality
developments.
In the Spring semester, we will cover five main themes, with approximately
three weeks per theme:
I. Stringstring dualities, Mtheory. (In other words, examples of
"gravitygravity dualities".) Spacetime effective supergravities; the BPS
argument; stringstring Sduality of Type IIB strings;
Type I/heterotic duality; strongly coupled heterotic E8 x E8 and Mtheory.
II. Black holes, black branes and their entropy. BekensteinHawking
entropy; statistical mechanics of blackhole entropy in string theory;
holography; the OSV conjecture and topological strings.
III. Towards nonperturbative definitions of string/Mtheory.
Matrix models for the bosonic strings, Type 0 strings and noncritical
Mtheory; M(atrix) theory and DLCQ; (open) string field theory and Sen's
conjectures.
IV. AdS/CFT correspondence. Gaugegravity dualities; N=4 SYM/Type IIB
on AdS_5; AdS_3/CFT_2; away from maximal supersymmetry; away from conformal
invariance.
V. Recent developments and open questions. Topics include: AdS/QCD and
the dynamics of the quarkgluon plasma; strings out of equilibrium; positive
cosmological constant, cosmology and inflation in string theory; the
landscape of vacua (and the swampland idea).
A tentative weekbyweek schedule has been posted
here;
adjustments of this schedule are likely.
Homework Assignments
There will be four Homework Assignments, posted on this website at the pace
of once every two weeks, with the fourth HW assignment due on Thu just before
Spring break. The homeworks will be due on the indicated Thursdays in class,
and will be discussed in the discussion session tentatively scheduled for
that same Thu, 4:10pm. The grading is on the coarse scale of +/; the
homeworks are required of all students (including those signed up on the
pass/fail basis).
HW1 (due Thu, Feb. 7): Problems 8.4, 8.7 and 8.8 of [BBS]
(page 352).
HW2 (due Thu, Feb. 21): Problems 8.9, 8.10 and 8.13
(pages 352353), Problem 9.16 (page 455) of [BBS]. Additionally, in the
discussion session on Thu. Feb. 14 we will take a closer
look at the lowenergy effective action of heterotic Mtheory in eleven
dimensions, and the
students are advised to read the two original papers on this subject,
hepth/9510209 and
hepth/9603142, as their
preparation for that discussion session.
HW3 (due Thu, March 6): Problems 11.6, 11.9, 11.11 and
11.14 of [BBS] (pages 6089).
HW4 (due Thu, March 20): Two problems from [BBS]:
12.2 and 12.7 (p. 686). The third and final problem can be found in two
"nutshell" places  either as Problem 14.14 on p. 500 of [E. Kiristis,
String Theory in a Nutshell], or as Problem VII.4.6 on p. 390 of
[A. Zee, Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell]. If you do not have
access to either of those two books, the assignment of the problem is
simple: Imagine integrating over all components of an NxN hermitean matrix
M. Using a unitary group element U, you can diagonalize M, as M=ULU^{1},
where L is a diagonal matrix: L=diag(l_1,...l_N). Perform the change of
variables from M to U and l_1,...l_N in the integration measure, and show
that the jacobian is given by the famous "Vandermonde determinant."
Preferrably, derive this jacobian by using the FaddeevPopov procedure.
In the discussion session on Thu March 13, we will discuss
hepth/0508024
(and possibly one of the followup papers,
hepth/0512325), on
noncritical Mtheory in 2+1 dimensions.
Reading Assignment
After Spring break, the six remaining discussion sessions will be devoted
to student presentations of their reading assignments. Each student
will select a research paper from a list of twelve papers posted
here.
Each discussion session will be evenly divided between two students
(20 minutes of paper presentation, plus 5 minutes discussion). Students
who signed up on the pass/fail basis are exempt from the Reading Assignment.
horava@berkeley.edu
