In comparison to the Introduction to String Theory I course ("Intro I") taught in Spring 2002, "Intro II" will cover more advanced and more recent aspects of string theory, in particular its non-perturbative structure. While in "Intro I" we worked our way up starting from classic worldsheet techniques of perturbative string theory, in "Intro II" the focus is going to be on the unifying structure of eleven-dimensional M-theory, and we will work our way down from eleven dimensions to various aspects of string theory compactifications. A particular attention will be devoted to an exposition of heterotic M-theory, which first emerged from the strongly coupled limit of the heterotic E_8 x E_8 string. Using the unifying framework of M-theory, I hope to cover aspects of string theory ranging from compactifications on special-holonomy manifolds and mirror symmetry, all the way to AdS/CFT correspondence, braneworlds, and even elements of M-theory cosmology.
Since "Intro II" will cover more advanced aspects of string theory, the organizational aspects of the course will be slightly different than in "Intro I". In particular, in "Intro II" there will be no homework assignments in the form of a list of exercises/problems, instead the focus will be on a "reading assignment", in which each student selects a paper to read from a list of original M-theory "milestone" articles covering aspects of string/M-thery not discussed in detail in the lectures. There may also be a brief final take-home exam.