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Introduction to Superstrings and M-Theory (Graduate Texts in Contemporary Physics) Hardcover – 1 Aug 1999

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 612 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 1999. Corr. 2nd edition (1 Aug. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387985891
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387985893
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 3.7 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 756,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


From the reviews
Foundations of Physics, on the first edition:
"... the dedicated reader...will be well versed in this fascinating area of theoretical physics."
Physics Today, on the first edition:
"...presents a pedagogical survey on string theory. It covers material from early developments to present-day research ... divided into three parts ... results of quantization, string field theory, and phenomenology ... an impressive effort..."

"Kaku’s book, at 568 pages, is a comprehensive, self-contained text on string theory…[It] contains useful summaries of mathematical topics such as index theory, cohomology, and Kahler manifolds. This is a book for the really serious student of string theory; the dedicated reader who emerges after page 568 will be well versed in this fascinating area of theoretical physics.”

About the Author

Dr. Michio Kaku is a theoretical physicist and the cofounder of string field theory (a branch of string theory), and he continues Einstein s search to unite the four fundamental forces of nature into one unified theory. He is also the New York Times bestselling author of seven books, including his most recent work, Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
For those who want to learn about the very latest ideas in science this is an excellent book to get into. It has useful appendices on General Relativity, Lie groups and Supersymmetry (though you should really learn these before you read this book). The author likes to use Feynmann Path integrals but this does confuse matters if you're not used to them. Other interesting topics are compactification of extra dimensions on complex-manifolds and M-Theory (a theory of membranes in 11 dimensions). A useful reference.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a "schaum's outline" of string theory 21 Feb. 2004
By Ming Ho Siu - Published on
Format: Hardcover
well, it doesn't exactly have those solved examples as in Schaum's Outline books, but the analogy is close enough for the notes. That means this is a terrible book to learn the subject from if you just barely know quantum field theory, but if you've already been exposed to quite a bit of current research topics, even superficially, here is a very neat set of notes/summaries of some core elements. Recommended for intermediate graduate students as a quick reference.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent but... 18 Jun. 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a well written book, but I think it lacks the depth necessary to actually learn string theory from it. I do recommend getting it, but get it along with Polchinski's book and use it as a supplement, something to read to reinforce the main ideas.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars in chemistry and had a good deal of mathematics along the way which I did ... 8 Mar. 2015
By Lance Stokes Ph D - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book humbled me a bit. I was anxious to learn string theory. This book is a quantum physics graduate textbook, and although well structured, I was overwhelmed by the mathematics. I have a Ph.D. in chemistry and had a good deal of mathematics along the way which I did well in. But I received my doctorate many years ago, and although I am a research scientist, I don't utilize the level of mathematical equations presented in the book to explain concepts. But nevertheless, I have not given up and I continue to hammer away. I intend to contact Dr Kaku to see if there might be a precursor to this book. I read a few other works by Dr Kaku and those books, although addressing string theory were presented at a level more manageable for me. His recent book, The Future of the Mind, is outstanding and is very easy to read and exceptionally valuable. That book I hardily recommend with 10 stars. For introduction to Superstings and M-Theory, I suggest anyone who selects to read it, first find a precursor to allow yourself a good understanding of the equations to avoid frustration.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book 25 Mar. 2015
By BigDrM - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Once again if you have the math and the physics behind you and want to get way out there then read this book. It is filed with mathematical theorems that try to explain the concept behind M-Theory and is quite compelling.
9 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Helpful in some places 16 Aug. 2003
By Dr. Lee D. Carlson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Superstring theory has come a long way since its beginnings in the theory of the strong interaction. The mathematical preparation needed back then was no where near as formidable as it is today, but the experimental motivation then greatly exceeded what is available today in superstrings. Students have to face a mountain of mathematics in order to enter research into superstring theory, and most of this is not explained satisfactorily in the mathematics textbooks and monographs. Therefore, students need to embed themselves in the "oral tradition" of mathematics in order to understand it and gain the insight needed to make original contributions to string theory. This book is somewhat helpful in explaining the mathematics behind string and M-theories, and so the places in which it is will be highlighted in this review.
One of the places which it does this is in chapter 5 on multiloops and Teichmuller spaces. The author discusses the Schottky groups, the constant curvature metric formalism, theta functions, and the light cone formalism, the latter of which is dealt with in the context of string field theories in later chapters. The author points out the Schottky problem as one that has been solved and its connection to the parametrizing moduli space by the period matrix for the calculation of loop amplitudes beyond three loops. He does a good job of explaining how to calculate the multiloop amplitude using these different formalisms, particularly the origin of the "period matrix". An explicit formula is given for the multiloop amplitude in terms of the Schottky groups using the Nambu-Goto formalism. The functional integral does not fix uniquely the region of integration in this formalism, and so this region must be carefully truncated to avoid overcounting. This motivates the author to introduce the Polyakov formalism, which, interestingly, makes heavy use of the research of the 19th century on Riemann surfaces. Thus, string theory should not be thought of as a purely 21st century theory that found its way into the 20th, as some have described it. Much of the mathematics it uses comes from the latter half of the 19th century. The author shows how the singularity structure of the multiloop diagram can be expressed in terms of a Selberg zeta function. The redundancy in the path measure under conformal transformations is removed by gauge fixing, Weyl rescalings, and reparametrizations. All of this leads to the moduli space of constant curvature metrics so as to alleviate the problem of overcounting from reparametrization invariance. The moduli space, as usual, is written as Teichmuller space modulo the mapping class group, and the author shows how to relate the variation of the metric tensor to the quadratic differentials. All of these considerations are then generalized to superstrings, with the author showing how the presence of spinors complicates things to a certain extent. The author does mention the supermoduli space in connection with Grassmannians, but unfortunately refers the reader to the literature for further details. He justifies his avoidance of the Grassmannian approach by purusing a field theory of strings. The latter however is just as complicated, although for different reasons.
Another helpful discussion in the book is the one on Kac-Moody algebras and E8. The author motivates well the need for Kac-Moody algebras, namely that of making sense of the complicated spectrum of the heterotic string. The Kac-Moody algebras are first developed in the book in the context of conformal field theory wherein the author introduces the famous vertex operators. In the case of heterotic strings, the author uses the vertex operators to construct a representation of a Kac-Moody algebra that utilizes the Chevalley basis.
The discussion on F-theory, although very short, is also very interesting and helpful considering that most of the mathematical literature on this subject might be too difficult for newcomers to the subject. The author motivates well the need for F-theory, being that of a theory with twelve-dimensional symmetry that is compactified on the torus. F-theories are thus a Type IIB theory with SL(2,Z) modular symmetry. Elliptic fibrations, of much recent interest in the mathematics community, are shown to originate in the (non-perturbative) compactification of a Type IIB theory on a manifold B, via F-theory compactified on an elliptic fibration of the manifold B.
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