Strings 2009 is about three weeks away, and it will bring 450 or so string theorists to Rome. The topics of the talks at the Strings 200x conferences give a good idea of what the hot topics in the field are, and this year’s talk titles are now available. What’s big this year are scattering amplitudes, as well as the usual AdS5/CFT4 topics, supplemented by the more recently popular AdS4/CFT3. As far as phenomenology goes, the hot topic is definitely local F-theory models, with three separate talks on the subject.
One topic that is not hot is anything mathematical, with no research talks by mathematicians or Witten, and little about mathematically significant topics such as mirror symmetry. What also seems to no longer be hot is either string cosmology or the landscape. No cosmology, multiverse or Boltzmann Brains are to be found among the research talks, although Brian Greene will give a public lecture about the issue of possible multiple universes.