Course Meeting Times
Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session
Prerequisites
8.033 (Relativity), 8.044 (Statistical Physics I), and 8.05 (Quantum Physics II).
Textbook
Zwiebach, Barton. A First Course in String Theory. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2004. ISBN: 9780521831437.
Additional Reference
A new readable book at the graduate level is:
Becker, Katrin, Melanie Becker, and John H. Schwarz. String Theory and MTheory: A Modern Introduction. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007. ISBN: 9780521860697.
Homework
There will be weekly homework. No late homework will be accepted. Students will be able to drop one homework  the one with the lowest grade  from their record.
Tests
There will be two tests and a final exam.
Grading
ACTIVITIES  PERCENTAGES 

Homework  35% 
Test 1  20% 
Test 2  20% 
Final exam  25% 
Calendar
SES #  TOPICS  KEY DATES 

1 
Announcements, introduction Lorentz transformations Lightcone coordinates 

2 
Energy and momentum Compact dimensions, orbifolds Quantum mechanics and the square well 

3 
Relativistic electrodynamics Gauss’ law Gravitation and Planck’s length 
Homework 1 due 
4  Gravitational potentials, compactification, and large extra dimensions  
5  Nonrelativistic strings and lagrangian mechanics  Homework 2 due 
6  The relativistic point particle: Action, reparametrizations, and equations of motion  
7  Area formula for spatial surfaces  Homework 3 due 
8  Area formula for spatial surfaces (cont.)  
9  Change of variables  Homework 4 due 
10  Relativistic strings: NambuGoto action, equations of motion and boundary conditions  Homework 5 due 
11 
Static gauge, transverse velocity, and string action Motion of free open string endpoints 

12 
The sigmaparametrization Equations of motion and virasoro constraints General motion for open strings Rotating open strings 
Homework 6 due 
Test 1  
13 
Periodicity conditions for the motion of closed strings The formation of cusps Conserved currents in E&M Conserved charges in lagrangian mechanics 

14 
Momentum charges for the string Lorentz charges for the strings Angular momentum of the rotating string Discuss alpha’ and the string length l_s General gauges: fixing tau and natural units 
Homework 7 due 
15  Solution of the open string motion in the lightcone gauge  
16  Lightcone fields and particles  
17  Lightcone fields and particles (cont.)  Homework 8 due 
18  Open strings  Homework 9 due 
19 
Critical dimension Constructing the state space Tachyons 

20  Closed strings  Homework 10 due 
21 
Wrapup of closed strings Superstrings 

Test 2  
22  Superstrings (cont.)  
23 
Closed strings Heterotic string theory 

24 
Dpbranes Parallel Dp’s 
Homework 11 due 
25  Dpbranes (cont.)  
26  Final exam review  
Final exam week 