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.
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.
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 topics Discussion topicsProblem set
October 18 Introduction and overview Relativity and Quantum mechanics Homework 1
October 25 Particles and strings
November 1 Light-cone and spectrum
November 8
November 15 OCQ and BRS-T
November 22 CFT and OPE
November 29 Trees and Loops
December 6 D-branes and T-duality
December 13 Ramond and Neveu-Schwarz
December 20
January 10 IIB or not IIB
January 17
January 24
January 31