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M-Theory & QM

  1. Oct 13, 2006 #1
    I don't know much about M-theory except for some basic laymen concepts, but I was wondering if one were planning to study M-theory, does he/she needs to have a strong understanding of QM?
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  3. Oct 13, 2006 #2


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    IMO, you need a strong understanding of every brach of physics if you're to work on unification theories and hope to make a contribution.

    But especially QM, QFT, QCD, GR, QED, particle physics, etc.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2006
  4. Oct 13, 2006 #3
    You need a strong understanding of QM to study practically anything in any branch of physics.
  5. Oct 13, 2006 #4


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    Speaking from experience, it's a wrong move to try to get way ahead of the game, particularly if you're studying alone. Get a background in QM and quantum field theory, then go on to basic strings. For studying at home, assuming you want a pretty deep understanding, but don''t plan to become a professional, I can recommen Zee for field theory and Zwiebach for introductory string theory. Then you should go back into string theory with Polchinski or Weinberg.
  6. Oct 13, 2006 #5
    Hi Swapnil

    selfAdjoint recommended some excellent texts. Another essential book would be Nakahara's:

    Geometry, Topology and Physics, Second Edition

    John Schwarz uses this at caltech.

    For supersymmetry and supergravity, make sure to work through Wess and Bagger's classic:

    Supersymmetry and Supergravity

    It helps to round up a few physics grad student buddies to help you.
  7. Oct 15, 2006 #6
  8. Oct 15, 2006 #7


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    like this

    [ url=http://www.amazon.com]TITLE[/url ]
  9. Oct 15, 2006 #8


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    1. Copy the URL you want to use.
    2. Go "advanced" in your post.
    3. Click on the URL icon (that dark blue one under the smiley face).
    4. When the entry box comes up, clear it, paste your URL, and click OK.
    5. When the link code appears in your post it will have the URL highlighted in the place you want your word(s) to appear. Hit delete and it will vanish but the actual link code will be undisturbed.
    6. Position your cursor just before the final [/url tag bracket, and type what you want to appear.
    7.Sounds like a lot of instructions, but it gets to be automatic.
  10. Oct 15, 2006 #9
    Thanks. That's easy. Now my posts will look even more elegant. :cool:

    But I'm afraid it won't help me much understanding M-theory.
  11. Oct 15, 2006 #10
    Are you related to the current pope? Or are you the current pope?

    To master M-Theory you will need to have working knowledge of the following areas of mathematics:

    Super String Math

    The list above is outdated but it is a good start.

    If you look at MIT's OCW website. You can get a rough idea of what areas of physics you need to master before you can work on an undergraduate introduction to string theory. You might not need everything on the list, physics of solids for one, but you need most of it.

    As for grad level physics you need

    Particle Physics 1 and 2 (undergrad)

    Quantum 1 and 2 (grad)

    Relativistic Quantum Field Theory 1 thru 3 (grad)

    General Relativity

    After that you're ready for the big time, you can start with the supersymmetry books, and then move onto the introductory book on string theory.
  12. Oct 16, 2006 #11
    The mere fact that you are stating the question in this fashion suggests that you still have a long way to go before doing anything like what you're asking. Still, if you must know...

    Learn quantum mechanics. Not the average "Griffiths introduction to" type. There are many good books out there, so I'm not going to give you a list.

    Learn quantum field theory. Zee is indeed a good book, if somewhat sketchy at times (this is not a criticism of the book, it's meant to be that way). Zee will help you tackle the lengthier tomes (Peskin & Schröder, Weinberg, Kaku). Mandl & Shaw is also a good intro book.

    Learn general relativity. Weinberg is still a great book, but Sean Carroll's online notes are excellent as well, and contain a nice deal of mathematics.

    Speaking of which...you cannot learn enough math. Algebra (representations in particular), differential geometry, topology, algebraic geometry... there's alot out there.

    A final word, there is no such thing as M-theory, not yet anyway. We have only a vague idea of what it should look like.
  13. Oct 17, 2006 #12
    Like the others, you need to know fundamentally everything in physics but in particular string theory, QFT, and particle physics (maybe some cosmology too :smile: )

    Also, you might want to grab an imagination if possible; it's usefull to sit in one spot for hours and ponder away... :wink:
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