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Introduction to Strings and Branes by Peter West

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1 The point particle

 

 

 

 

“We must proceed very slowly, for we are in a great hurry.”

Statement at the beginning of the peace talks with the Palestinians

A number of the features of string theory are shared by the point particle. This is not too surprising as the point particle can be obtained in the limit as the string collapses to a point. Although one might think that the relativistic free point particle is a rather trivial system, it is a system with constraints and must be quantised with corresponding care. In this chapter we give the classical description of the point particle and then quantise it using first the Dirac method and then Becchi–Rouet–Stora–Tutin (BRST) quantisation techniques.

These steps are then repeated for the superparticle. ...

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