This book is a comprehensive survey of the current state of knowledge about the dynamics and gravitational properties of cosmic strings treated in the idealized classical approximation as line singularities described by the Nambu-Goto action. The author's purpose is to provide a standard reference to all work that has been published since the mid-1970s and to link this work together in a single conceptual framework and a single notational formalism. A working knowledge of basic general relativity is assumed. The book will be essential reading for researchers and postgraduate students in mathematics, theoretical physics, and astronomy interested in cosmic strings.
Part I String dynamics in a fixed background: The elements of string dynamics. String dynamics in Minkowski Spacetime. A bestiary of known trajectories in Minkowski Spacetime. String dynamics in a Robertson-Walker metric. other background metrics. Part II The gravitational field of a cosmic spring: Infinite straight strings. Systems of straight strings and closed timelike curves. Traveling-wave solutions and the interaction of strings with gravitational waves. Circular cosmic strings. Part III Towards a self-consistent theory of string dynamics: The weak-field approximation. The gravitational field at small distances. Cosmic strings and black holes.