Reviews of topical problems

String theory or field theory?

Lebedev Physical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninsky prosp. 53, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation

The status of string theory is reviewed, and major recent developments-especially those in going beyond perturbation theory in the string theory and quantum field theory frameworks — are analyzed. This analysis helps better understand the role and place of string theory in the modern picture of the physical world. Even though quantum field theory describes a wide range of experimental phenomena, it is emphasized that there are some insurmountable problems inherent in it-notably the impossibility to formulate the quantum theory of gravity on its basis — which prevent it from being a fundamental physical theory of the world of microscopic distances. It is this task, the creation of such a theory, which string theory, currently far from completion, is expected to solve. In spite of its somewhat vague current form, string theory has already led to a number of serious results and greatly contributed to progress in the understanding of quantum field theory. It is these developments which are our concern in this review.

Fulltext is available at IOP
PACS: 11.15.−q, 11.25.−w, 12.20.−m (all)
DOI: 10.1070/PU2002v045n09ABEH001148
Citation: Marshakov A V "String theory or field theory?" Phys. Usp. 45 915–954 (2002)
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:    « ?» 172 977–1020 (2002); DOI: 10.3367/UFNr.0172.200209a.0977

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