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Textbook for String Theory beginners

  1. Apr 24, 2006 #1
    I am an undergraduate physics major in my last year of undergraduate study. I'm very intersted in string theory, any recommended textbooks?

    Currently I found

    First Course in String Theory by Barton Zwebach

    Special Relativity: From Einstein to Strings by John Schwarz and Patricia Schwarz

    Both seemed pretty good. I really like the first one.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 24, 2006 #2
    I've read that Zweibach's book is the best one to begin:

    I'll be pedatic, but maybe you would take a look on field theory too: do you know Ramond's book?
    "Field Theory: A Modern Primer", Addison/Wesley, 1981

    Have fun!

    ps: I can't ought to refrain converting you...
    A little act to save you soul: read this! o:)
    o:) http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0310077
  4. Apr 24, 2006 #3


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    Ramond's book is excellent for what it says - field theory, and especially if you're more interested in how the math works rather than learning to calculate practical amplitudes. His dissection of dimensional regularization is classic - moving integration contours around in the complex plane to get the poles of your integrand where you want them.

    But wouldn't Ramond be kind of a detour for somebody who wants to hew to the line that leads to string theory?
  5. Apr 24, 2006 #4
    Yes, it is. Back to the origins... :biggrin:
  6. Apr 24, 2006 #5


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    Zwiebach is excellent and is actually understandable (for part of it at least) by undergraduates. Even if you will ultimately need to learn QFT in depth if you want to do string theory, don't delay reading Zwiebach's book, it will teach you a lot!
  7. Apr 27, 2006 #6
    Zwiebach's is quite a commendable book. However, I've often felt that he goes into *far* too much detail over the simpler aspects. I think that if you can work your way through chapters two and three (but particularly chapter two) of Green, Schwarz, and Witten, you'll have a good introduction to the subject. Clifford Johnson's book is good too, although it gets very difficult after the third or fourth chapter.

    I think the best advice though is to learn QFT first. Peskin & Schroeder has been the canonical QFT book for years and is an excellent place to start, particularly given the amount of related material you can find online.
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