Worldsheet

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In string theory, a worldsheet is a two-dimensional manifold which describes the embedding of a string in spacetime. The term was coined by Leonard Susskind around 1967 as a direct generalization of the world line concept for a point particle in special and general relativity.

The type of string, the geometry of the spacetime in which it propagates, and the presence of long-range background fields (such as gauge fields) are encoded in a conformal field theory defined on the worldsheet. For example, the bosonic string in 26-dimensional Minkowski space has a worldsheet conformal field theory consisting of 26 free scalar fields. Meanwhile, a superstring worldsheet theory in 10 dimensions consists of 10 free scalar fields and their fermionic superpartners.