Wednesday, August 26, 2020

An interesting German textbook on particles and strings

Arthur Hebecker is a professor of physics in Heidelberg (picture above: the bridge is almost like one in Regensburg, our twin city), a traditional German mathematics hub (the list of famous and brilliant people linked to that town is incredible for a town of 160,000). He's done GUT, orbifolds, and many other things but Springer (which has HQ in Heidelberg, Berlin, NYC, Dordrecht) is preparing a textbook. Here is the free version of it:
Lectures on Naturalness, String Landscape and Multiverse (PDF)
It is an interesting 269-page-long textbook with stuff from particle physics to some cutting-edge topics in string theory and around string theory that is appropriate for the year 2020.

So Hebecker starts with the Standard Model, its structure, the number of parameters, its character as an effective field theory, anomalies, grand unification, chiral spinors, aside from other things. Another chapter is about supersymmetry, including some hardcore games with the spinor identities, superspace and components, the graviton multiplet, the Wess-Zumino model, as well as the Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model.

The third chapter is his variation of "Polchinski I" textbook on the bosonic string theory, mainly the construction of the spectrum and analysis of the symmetries. The fourth chapter, roughly "Polchinski IIA", presents the supersymmetric string, i.e. the superstring, and the string interactions. The following, fifth chapter is dedicated to compactification, Calabi-Yaus, and 10-dimensional actions.

The sixth chapter is about a newer topic that couldn't have been included in most of the "traditional string textbooks" yet, namely the flux landscape, making it rather clear that he is a "pro-Stanford" guy in the landscape and anthropic investigations and polemics. So there is a lot of KKLT over there. The seventh chapter actually tries to be hardcore anthropic and discusses the eternal inflation including the would-be anthropic measures for various quantities that could follow from eternal inflation.

The final, eighth chapter, looks at some other research directions that have been important enough, including technicolor as a SUSY competitor, warped extra dimensions or the little Higgs, cosmological selection and relaxion, the Swampland including things like the Weak Gravity Conjecture, the implications of the Swampland for the de Sitter space, and less mathematically refined approaches to quantum gravity including the asymptotic safety.

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