Hi!

I want to start a PhD in string theory within one year, and I want to at that point be able to start doing my own research as quick as possible. String theory is notoriously large, and QFT is too. So I am looking for advice, what do the pr0s who have done string theory for 3+ years (or 20 years!) say??

I want to do very formal, abstract and mathematical string theory. Ugly maths doesnt appeal to me too much, though I realize one might sometimes be forced to.

So here I am, sitting with Zweibach's "First course in string theory", and Nakaharas "Geometry, topology and physics" as well as Frankel's "The Geometry of Physics". Is this a good start? What do I do when I finish these?

Some other questions you may want to look at:

What are your regrets when preparing for string theory and mathematical physics? What things do you wish you could have done better? Should the main focus be on exercises or on proofs? Is the point to understand much material at a relatively good level or to understand a bit less material but at a very high level? Is there anybody who has lost faith? Which main approaches exist in string theory (i.e. which main fields of research into string theory exist) ? Do you recommend doing mostly mathematical preparation or to get the necessary maths on-the-fly from physics books? How important is knowing QFT versus how important is knowing the maths?

Please feel free to answer any or all of these questions which you feel you can make a contribution to in this thread. Thanks in advance!

Any other tips would be welcome, as I embark on my journey into string theory...