AdvisorDienes, Keith R
Committee ChairDienes, Keith R
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis thesis deals with string theory at finite temperature. String theory has attracted considerable attention in recent years because of its ability to unify the fundamental forces and particles in nature and provide a quantized description of gravity. However, many aspects of this theory remain mysterious, including its behavior at high temperature. One guiding principle for finite temperature string theory is the observation that a quantum theory at finite temperature can be recast as a zero-temperature theory in which a Euclidean time dimension is compactified on a circle. This temperature/radius correspondence holds in quantum mechanics as well as quantum field theory, and is normally assumed to hold in string theory as well. However it was shown recently that this correspondence fails for a class of string theories, called heterotic strings. This motivates a search for an alternate way to restore this correspondence, as well as a reevaluation of the thermodynamic behaviour of other classes of string theories, namely Type~II and Type~I. We find that contrary to the established wisdom, all ten dimensional string theories have a similar behaviour at finite temperature. This also leads us to the conclusion that the Heterotic and Type~I theory behave in a dual way at finite temperature.