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........ published in NEWSLETTER # 58

by Professor N.G. Sanchez, Observatoire de Paris (France)

This book (NATO ASI SERIES C476) consists of the invited lectures and seminars delivered at the NATO Advanced Study Institute "String Gravity and Physics at the Planck Scale", which was held at the Ettore Majorana Centre in Erice (Italy) in September 1995.

The contemporary trends in the quantum unification of all interactions including gravity motivated this Institute.

The main goal and impact of modern string theory is to provide a consistent quantum theory of gravity. This book provides an updated understanding of the latest developments and current problems of string theory in connection with gravity and the physics at the Planck energy scale. The book also discusses fundamental problems of quantum gravity in the present-day context, irrespective of strings or any other models.

Emphasis is given to the mutual impact of string theory, gravity and cosmology, within a deep and carefully selected programme and interdisciplinarity. Since the most relevant new physics provided by strings concerns the quantization of gravity, one must, at least, understand string quantization in curved space-times. Curved space-times, besides their evident relevance in classical gravitation, are also important at energies of the order of the Planck scale. At the Planck energy, gravitational interactions are at least as important as the rest and can no longer be neglected.

Besides the non-renormalizability problem, probably solvable in the string context, the quantization of gravity involves fundamental conceptual problems such as those arising in black holes and primordial cosmology. Careful analysis, discussions and presentations in order to distinguish controversial from non- controversial status of knowledge have been made throughout the Institute. The volume distinguishes itself in the excellent high level of all contributions, the careful selection of the treated subjects and approaches, the unifying and rigourous view of the field. This is a reference book for theoreticians - physicists, mathematicians and cosmologists- post-doctoral students, advanced graduate students and senior scientists.
Reference books: B175, B328, C476

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