Mathematics and Physics in Heidelberg Fakultät für Mathematik und Informatik Fakultät für Mathematik und Informatik Mathematisches Institut Karl-Theodor-Brücke Surprise Fakultät für Physik und Astronomie Fakultät für Physik und Astronomie Institut für Theoretische Physik Universität Heidelberg Universität Heidelberg Universität Heidelberg

Lecture course in the Winter Semester 2021/22 (Diese Veranstaltung findet in englischer Sprache statt!)

String Theory


Registration for exercise sessions now open via the Physics Übungsgruppenverwaltungssystemportal

First lecture on October 19


This course is a basic introduction to string theory. Topics to be covered include: Quantization of the bosonic string, string interactions, the superstring, space-time effective actions, string compactifications, D-branes and string dualities, AdS/CFT correspondence. (We won't do all of this.)

Prerequisites: Thorough knowledge of classical theoretical physics, including quantum mechanics and relativity as ingredients of quantum field theory. An understanding of particle physics and some mathematical background will also be useful. We recommend vaccination against Covid-19.

Credits: This course is listed as a specialization module in the physics Master programme, and as an "Aufbaumodul" in the mathematics Master focus area "Modular forms, complex analysis, and mathematical physics".
The course will be evaluated based on a final oral exam 24h take-home final exam. Tentative submission deadline: February 16, 2022 @ noon. The exam will be uploaded on February 21 at 12 noon, submission deadline: February 22, 2022 also at 12 noon.
To be admitted to the exam, you have to be registered (via the Physics Übungsgruppenverwaltungssystemportal) for the exercise sessions and submit valid solutions to at least 50% of homework problems.
We intend to upload problems sets on Mondays at noon (give or take). Submission deadline is the following Monday, at noon (sharp).

Instructor: Prof. J. Walcher, Email
Tutor: Raphael Senghaas, Email

Time and Place:
Lectures on Tuesday & Thursday, 11-13, INF 308 HS 2, neither streamed nor recorded.
(Low video quality) recordings of the lecture are provided on account of current attendance regulations.
Exercise sessions on Wednesday, 14-16, INF 308 HS 2

Timo Weigand's Lecture Notes Introduction to String Theory
Green-Schwarz-Witten Superstring Theory (2 vols.)
Polchinski, String Theory (2 vols.) (see also: Joe's Little Book of String)
Blumenhagen-Lüst-Theisen, Basic concepts of string theory

Plan (tentative!)

Week Lecture Notes Problem set Answers
October 18 Introduction, Relativistic Actions Lecture 1&2 Homework 1
October 25 Classical strings, Polyakov action, Symmetries Lecture 3&4 Homework 2
November 1 Mode expansion, Quantization, Virasoro anomaly Lecture 5&6 Homework 3
November 8 OCQ, string spectrum, Light-cone gauge Lecture 7&8 Homework 4
November 15 BRST & cohomology, No ghost theorem Lecture 9&10 Homework 5
November 22 String interactions, CFT and OPE Lecture 11&12 Homework 6
November 29 etc., pp. Lecture 13&14 Homework 7
December 6 Veneziano amplitude, moduli Lecture 15 Homework 8
December 13 gauge fixing, ghosts Lecture 16 Homework 9
December 20 loop amplitudes Lecture 17 Homework 10
January 10 Compactification, T-duality Lecture 18&19 Homework 11
January 17 D-branes 1, D-branes 2 Lecture 20 Homework 12
January 24 D-branes 3, Orbifolds, supersymmetry Lecture 21&22 Homework 13
January 31 Ramond and Neveu-Schwarz, GSO Lecture 23&24 Homework 14
February 7 IIB or not IIB Lecture 25