Quarks, strings and beyond

Alexander M. Polyakov

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


In this Chapter, I recall the sequence of ideas which led to noncritical strings and gauge/strings duality. I also comment on some promising future directions. In the Sixties I was not much interested in string theory. The main reason for that was my conviction that the world of elementary particles should allow a field theoretic description and that this description must be closely analogous to the conformal bootstrap of critical phenomena. At the time such views were very far from the mainstream. I remember talking to one outstanding physicist. When I said that boiling water may have something to do with the deep inelastic scattering, I received a very strange look. I shall add in the parenthesis that this was the beginning of a long series of ‘strange looks’ which I keep receiving to this day. Another reason for the lack of interest was actually a lack of ability. I could not follow the very complicated algebra of the early works on string theory and did not have any secret weapon to struggle with it. On the other hand, the Landau Institute, to which I belonged, was full of the leading experts in condensed matter physics. I remember that in the late Sixties to early Seventies Tolya Larkin and I discussed (many times) whether Abrikosov's vortices could be viewed as elementary particles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Birth of String Theory
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9780511977725
ISBN (Print)9780521197908
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Quarks, strings and beyond'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this