M-Theory and Quantum Geometry
The fundamental structure of matter and spacetime at the shortest length scales remains an exciting frontier of basic research in theoretical physics. A unifying theme in this area is the quantization of geometrical objects. The majority of lectures at the Advanced Study Institute on Quantum Ge ometry in Akureyri was on recent advances in superstring theory, which is the leading candidate for a unified description of all known elementary par ticles and interactions. The geometric concept of one-dimensional extended objects, or strings, has always been at the core of superstring theory but in recent years the focus has shifted to include also higher-dimensional ob jects, so called D-branes, which play a key role in the non-perturbative dynamics of the theory. A related development has seen the strong coupling regime of a given string theory identified with the weak coupling regime of what was previ ously believed to be a different theory, and a web of such" dualities" that interrelates all known superstring theories has emerged. The resulting uni fied theoretical framework, termed M-theory, has evolved at a rapid pace in recent years.