I’ve been a reader in String Theory (ST) for some time. And since my formal admission to university, I have been revising what I had learned and also expanding deeper into ST, whilst satisfying other formal university course requirements. From my understanding, the university is currently considering ways in which my degree may be fast tracked, so that I can continue unabated with my post-grad/post-doc. studies. This would enable me to more wholly focus on research. Meanwhile, in teaching myself ST, I have picked up both volumes of Polchinski’s “String Theory”, a great and much celebrated work. Although I haven’t been able to dedicate much focused time, with many other things pulling at my attention, in a couple short late night sittings I have powered through the first two chapters and enjoyed every moment. I can also honestly say that string theory is the most difficult and challenging thing I have taken up so far in life. It is in no way easy, but it is immensely enjoyable and I find stringy ideas motivating. (David Tong’s lecture notes are also superb, and I highly recommend that any interested reader also engage with these).
As alluded, I have grown frustrated with more of my time being consumed and taken, especially as I must continue to undergo the formal university process, and I am trying my best to adapt. If I had things my way I would sit and devour Polchinski in a week and then move on to some other books on my list, with topics in scattering amplitudes and elsewhere requiring urgent attention. But such is the nature of the current circumstance.
In that I have also taught myself and am actively extending my knowledge in Quantum Field Theory, I am currently reviewing a few QFT texts alongside my Polchinski readings. Whilst perhaps unorthodox (?), I have found it fruitful to go through both simultaneously. These activities have happily coexisted with my active thinking on matters to do with the string landscape and the swampland conjectures, compactifying all of this with other studies in particle physics, cosmology and mathematics and whatever else that I currently consider worthwhile. (For anyone interested in QFT, there are a number of books that I recommend, some that I am also eager to read through. These include the likes of Schwartz’s “Quantum Field Theory and the Standard Model”, Steven Weinberg’s “The Quantum Theory of Fields”, and Klauber’s “Quantum Field Theory”. Of course there are also some classics that have gone unstated, which anyone interested should read).
Now that the winter break is here, I would like to cross several of these activities off my list in the coming weeks. This is my primary aim, and then I can continue to advance toward some other things. Unfortunately, the winter break also means a break from my sessions with Prof. Padilla, to whom I am grateful for spending time with me and talking with me about all sorts of subjects. We discuss stringy things and also lots of cool cosmology-related theories and concepts. He has also been guiding my self-studies in ST and QFT and in other areas. I am also continuing to sketch some potential PhD theses, encircling different concerns and potentially fruitful research projects. Nima Arkani-Hamed’s works, among others, has been a lasting source of inspiration.
On another note, I have been encouraged to write more personal blogs and so I thought I would write my first personal post about some of the studies I am actively pursuing. In time, these sorts of posts will become more refined as I understand more how to write them and generally why one might communicate in this way. With my Asperger’s, such engagements and communication don’t come naturally.
There are many other things I would like to talk about, such as Jackson’s book on electrodynamics. It is a book I have yet to read, although I have already studied the contents. So I am also looking forward to spending time with that book over the break. I would also like to write about it when time permits. It may sound odd, but I first learned Special Relativity through its connection to electrodynamics. Other books I am eager to engage with are Hooft’s Yang-Mills and Nima Arkani-Hamed et al. title on the positive Grassmannian and scattering amplitudes.
Finally, I’ve been encouraged to think about making more maths and physics videos. Making maths and physics lectures or tutorials is a way for me to practice communicating, and I generally find it to be quite fun. At first I wanted my youtube channel to be a complete tour, capturing all of mathematics and physics, so naturally I decided to start from the basics and build. My plan was to also incorporate history – such as the history maths and important mathematical concepts. But that quickly became boring and I have trouble with keeping focused on things not directly related to my active research and study interests, so I sort of lost motivation. But in that I’ve been encouraged to continue making lecture videos and perhaps instead reformat my channel, the idea is that I start with a series on QFT or ST (I can talk about how I’ve taught myself these subjects, how I continue to approach them, and also offer lectures for anyone else interested in learning). I would also like to write a series of blog posts, when time permits, where we could even just begin with introducing notation and history and then deepen from there.
However, I am still not certain what approach I would prefer to take for such a series of lectures and posts, whether it is best for wider audience to start with the RQM entry or the path integral formalism.
In any case, I certainly have lots of notes that I will aim to post on here in the future.
Bye for now.