Welcome to 8.821 for Fall 2008.

notes and supplementary references

**Lectures:** TR 11-12:30, Room 56-191

**Summary: **It turns out that string theory is useful. This will be a one-semester class about gauge/gravity duality (often called AdS/CFT) and its applications. It will be more of a special-topics class than last year's 8.821. An attempt will be made to keep the content independent of last year's 8.821 class.

**Preparation: **GR, QFT or sufficient willingness to temporarily suspend disbelief. Previous exposure to string theory recommended but not essential.

**Coursework:** Exams are silly. There will be three kinds of coursework this semester:

- Problem sets will posted on the Problem Sets page.
- Each lecture, one person will volunteer to be the
*scribe*for that lecture, and is responsible for taking notes and texing them up and sending them to me. After (hopefully minor) revisions, I will post them to the handouts page. To help in writing up the lectures notes, I will give the scribe a copy of my written notes, and maybe an audio recording of the lecture. - There will be an end-of-term project. The first option is to give a brief talk summarizing a result of interest to the class. I'll post a list of appropriate subjects later. The second option is to write a brief paper doing the same.

**Syllabus and references: **pdf.

**String theory references:** J. Polchinski, *String Theory*, 2 vols., Cambridge U. Press.

M. Green, J. Schwarz, E. Witten, *Superstring Theory*, 2 vols., Cambridge U. Press.

A. M. Polyakov, *Gauge Fields and Strings*, Harwood.

D. Lust and S. Theisen, *Lectures on String Theory*, out of print.
Ask me.

M. Peskin's TASI lectures.

P. Ginsparg's CFT lectures.

A. Uranga's lecture notes.

B. Zwiebach, *A First Course in String Theory*

E. Kiritsis, *String Theory in a Nutshell*

Beckers, Schwarz, *String Theory and M-Theory: A Modern Introduction *