I posted link to the Strings 2008 speaker lineup at the Announcements sticky. We can do some digging and get prepared for what is to be expected. there are eight one-hour overview talks, and nearly 30 half-hour specialized research talks. All the talks are plenary--all in the same auditorium--for everybody, instead of breaking up into parallel sessions in different halls. All the speakers are chosen and nominated and invited by the COMMITTEE, which is unusual. No time slots for self-nominated volunteer talks called "contributed" which normally make up the bulk. what can we get just from the list of the eight overview talks---which are what get top billing? About half don't seem to be string theorists especially. Lyn Evans is head of the LHC project. Jos Engeler is CERN's chief scientific officer (CSO). What about Lance Dixon? QCD but not especially stringy as I recall, have to check this. On the other hand, David Gross wouldn't represent a specific string research line---in recent conferences his role has been to preside, give the keynote, the wrapup conclusions talk, to mention all the good work everybody else is doing and give general philosophy about "where we are". It is useful but i'm looking for something more specific. So I would like to ASK A QUESTION of people who are well-informed about current stringy research. If you look at the four remaining in that list of 8---what specific recent research themes stand out? They've been chosen by the committee to give overview talks about results and prospects in their respective research areas. Who then are the people? Hirosi Ooguri http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/find/hep/www?rawcmd=FIND+AUTHOR+ooguri Steve Gubser http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/find/hep/www?rawcmd=find+author+gubser,s Luis Ibanez http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/find/hep/www?rawcmd=ea+Ibanez,+Luis+E Boris Pioline http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/find/hep/www?rawcmd=FIND+a+pioline I'd appreciate it if we could get links to some specific recent papers by these people that have some definite results or other indications of why the committee would have singled them out to give a timely survey/review. Something somebody sees as important that they're involved in, IOW.