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Steven Gubser's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Steven Gubser recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Steven Gubser's favorite book recommendations of all time.


Lectures on String Theory

This book provides a self-contained introduction to string theory, at present one of the most exciting and fastest-growing areas in theoretical high-energy physics. Pedagogical in character, it introduces modern techniques and concepts, such as conformal and superconformal field theory, Kac-Moody algebras, etc., stressing their relevance and application to string theory rather than the formal aspects. The reader is led from a basic discussion of the classical bosonic string to the construction of four-dimensional heterotic string models, an area of current research. The so-called covariant... more
Recommended by Steven Gubser, and 1 others.

Steven GubserThis is the book by Dieter Lust and Stefan Theisen, which I included partly for sentimental reasons because it is, in fact, the book from which I learned string theory. But it’s also a great book. Among its advantages is that it has good, straightforward prose descriptions of what is going on. It does layer on the algebra that you need in order to really get the subject. But it seemed to me at... (Source)

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A First Course in String Theory

An accessible introduction to string theory, this book provides a detailed and self-contained demonstration of the main concepts involved. The first part deals with basic ideas, reviewing special relativity and electromagnetism while introducing the concept of extra dimensions. D-branes and the classical dynamics of relativistic strings are discussed next, and the quantization of open and closed bosonic strings in the light-cone gauge, along with a brief introduction to superstrings. The second part begins with a detailed study of D-branes followed by string thermodynamics. It discusses... more
Recommended by Steven Gubser, and 1 others.

Steven GubserYes. This is a book by my MIT colleague Barton Zwiebach, and it grew out of a year-long course that he taught at MIT for undergraduates who wanted to learn string theory. So he goes through a lot of the material that the Green, Schwarz, Witten and Polchinski books cover at a more detailed level. He does it without any claims of completeness, but you really do get the idea. I remember when I... (Source)

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String theory has advanced rapidly over the last 15 years and is increasingly seen as the best, and perhaps only, route to the complete unification of the four fundamental forces--the so-called theory of everything. This text provides, in two volumes, a thoroughly modern and comprehensive introduction to strings and superstrings, and brings the reader up to date on the latest developments in string duality, M-theory, D-branes, and the application of string theory to black hole quantum mechanics. The author is one of the world's top string theorists, and is also known as a clear and cogent... more
Recommended by Steven Gubser, and 1 others.

Steven GubserPolchinki’s book stands as a very different achievement. It’s something which he spent years writing and refining, so it’s this gorgeously edited and refined book. He also retains an impressive website where he’s caught all the errors in the equations, and corrected them. It is a work of tremendous care and detail, but it doesn’t quite have that quality of Green, Schwarz, Witten of being the... (Source)

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Superstring Theory

Volume 1, Introduction

In recent years, superstring theory has emerged as a promising approach to reconciling general relativity with quantum mechanics and unifying the fundamental interactions. Problems that have seemed insuperable in previous approaches take on a totally new character in the context of superstring theory, and some of them have been overcome. Interest in the subject has greatly increased following a succession of exciting recent developments. This two-volume book attempts to meet the need for a systematic exposition of superstring theory and its applications accessible to as wide an audience as... more
Recommended by Steven Gubser, and 1 others.

Steven GubserAs a practitioner of the subject I am drawn to the serious accounts. The two volumes by Green, Schwarz and Witten are a wonderful early account of the subject. It was a subject that first fluoresced in the mid-80s. The notion of string theory was already present, even in the late 1960s, but only in 1984, with the work of Green and Schwarz, did people realise string theory could really be... (Source)

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The international bestseller that inspired a major Nova special and sparked a new understanding of the universe, now with a new preface and epilogue.

Brian Greene, one of the world's leading string theorists, peels away layers of mystery to reveal a universe that consists of eleven dimensions, where the fabric of space tears and repairs itself, and all matter—from the smallest quarks to the most gargantuan supernovas—is generated by the vibrations of microscopically tiny loops of energy. The Elegant Universe makes some of the most sophisticated...

Mark KurlanskyI love this book. Brian Greene makes quantum physics and Einstein’s theory of relativity really make sense, so you can understand something which nobody seems to understand (Source)

Tom ClarkeThis book is perhaps the public debut of string theory – an attempt to explain how the best of the big and the small theories might be linked to explain the entire universe. (Source)

Steven GubserThe book works at many levels – I gave a copy to my mom when it came out, and I also received very positive impressions about the book from Norman Ramsey, who is a Nobel Prize physicist at Harvard. So it’s a great achievement, and part of why it’s a great achievement is that it covers not only string theory but also the accepted pillars of 20th-century theoretical physics, namely, quantum... (Source)

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