String theory and the path to unification: A review of recent developments

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This is a pedagogical review article surveying the various approaches towards understanding gauge coupling unification within string theory. As is well known, one of the major problems confronting string phenomenology has been an apparent discrepancy between the scale of gauge coupling unification predicted within string theory, and the unification scale expected within the framework of the Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model (MSSM). In this article, I provide an overview of the different approaches that have been taken in recent years towards reconciling these two scales, and outline some of the major recent developments in each. These approaches include string GUT models; higher affine levels and non-standard hypercharge normalizations; heavy string threshold corrections; light supersymmetric thresholds; effects from intermediate-scale gauge and matter structure beyond the MSSM; strings without supersymmetry; and strings at strong coupling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)447-525
Number of pages79
JournalPhysics Report
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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