STRING THEORY reading group
Spring 2017 UMD

The aim is to learn the fundamentals of string theory, particularly those that underlie the 1997 discovery of gauge-gravity (AdS/CFT) duality. This semester we will not get to that duality.

This is not a lecture course. There will be a weekly reading, and a weekly two hour meeting to discuss the reading. At each meeting, one or more of the participants will have the responsibility of presenting an overview and some details related to the reading, to be joined and followed by group discussion. It is important that anyone participating be prepared to do their share of presentations and join the discussions.


Ted Jacobson ( & Sungwoo Hong (

Open to anyone with prerequisites who is willing and able to do their share of presenting the material to the group.

special relativity with tensor index notation, covariant formulation of electrodynamics, metric tensor, curvature, quantum mechanics, classical and quantum field theory, variational calculus, path integral formulation of quantum field theory

Can be taken for 0, 1, 2 or 3 credits. For credits,  commensurate presentations, worked problems, and final project report will be required, in some combination to be determined. Course number to be determined.

Time & Place:
Wednesday or Friday afternoons, precise time & place to be determined.

Main text: Joe's Little Book of String (Joe Polchinski)
Supplementary texts: Joe's Big Book of String, many other books and notes, What every physicist should know about string theory (E. Witten)