Discussion:
string theory textbooks
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xiaodong
2005-07-04 09:55:41 UTC
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Can someone give some comment on these two books of string?

One is «String Theory»by Polchinski,
the other is «A First Course in String Theory»by Barton Zwiebach.
As a beginner,which is better? and what difference between them?
thank u very much!

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Robert C. Helling
2005-07-04 15:47:34 UTC
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Post by xiaodong
Can someone give some comment on these two books of string?
One is "String Theory" by Polchinski,
the other is "A First Course in String Theory" by Barton Zwiebach.
As a beginner,which is better? and what difference between them?
thank u very much!
Depends on your backgroud and what exactly you want to learn. Zwiebach
has written his book for advanced undergraduates while Polchinski's
book is for a graduate course. Zwiebach is very explicit and explains
everything in great detail. He only assumes the reader to know quantum
mechanics whereas for Polchinski's book you should be familiar with
quantum field theory.

However, the range of subjects in Zwiebach is much more restricted
compared to Polchinski, he only covers the classical bosonic string
and quantizes it in light-cone gauge. D-branes are mentioned and there
is some outlook on how to compute amplitudes. It gives the student a
solid first technical introduction to stringtheory.

Polchinski's volume one is also bosonic (fermions enter in vol. 2) but
he introduces and uses much more advanced tools.

I have to admit that I personally find some of Polchinski's
explanations not too clear and would recommend to read Green Schwarz
Witten in parallel with Polchinski as both approaches are
complementary. However, studying all four books will probably take one
several years.

Robert
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Robert C. Helling School of Science and Engineering
International University Bremen
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