# Strings, Branes and Non-trivial Space-times

Abstract: This thesis deals with different aspects of string and /p/-brane theories. One of the motivations for string theory is to unify the forces in nature and produce a quantum theory of gravity. /p/-branes and related objects arise in string theory and are related to a non-perturbative definition of the theory. The results of this thesis might help in understanding string theory better. The first part of the thesis introduces and discusses relevant topics for the second part of the thesis which consists of five papers.In the three first papers we develop and treat a perturbative approach to relativistic /p/-branes around stretched geometries. The unperturbed theory is described by a string- or particle-like theory. The theory is solved, within perturbation theory, by constructing successive canonical transformations which map the theory to the unperturbed one order by order. The result is used to define a quantum theory which requires for consistency d = 25 + p dimensions for the bosonic /p/-branes and d = 11 for the supermembrane. This is one of the first quantum results for extended objects beyond string theory and is a confirmation of the expectation of an eleven-dimensional quantum membrane.The two last papers deal with a gauged WZNW-approach to strings moving on non-trivial space-times. The groups used in the formulation of these models are connected to Hermitian symmetric spaces of non-compact type. We have found that the GKO-construction does not yield a unitary spectrum. We will show that there exists, however, a different approach, the BRST approach, which gives unitarity under certain conditions. This is the first example of a difference between the GKO- and BRST construction. This is one of the first proofs of unitarity of a string theory in a non-trivial non-compact space-time. Furthermore, new critical string theories in dimensions less then 26 or 10 is found for the bosonic and supersymmetric string, respectively.

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