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The fluctuations of two-dimensional extended objects membranes is a rich and exciting field with many solid results and a wide range of open issues. We review the distinct universality classes of membranes, determined by the local order, and the associated phase diagrams. After a discussion of several physical examples of membranes we turn to the physics of crystalline (or polymerized) membranes in which the individual monomers are rigidly bound. We discuss the phase diagram with particular attention to the dependence on the degree of self-avoidance and anisotropy. In each case we review and discuss analytic, numerical and experimental predictions of critical exponents and other key observables. Particular emphasis is given to the results obtained from the renormalization group epsilon-expansion. The resulting renormalization group flows and fixed points are illustrated graphically. The full technical details necessary to perform actual calculations are presented in the Appendices. We then turn to a discussion of the role of topological defects whose liberation leads to the hexatic and fluid universality classes. We finish with conclusions and a discussion of promising open directions for the future.

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75 LaTeX pages, 36 figures. To appear in Physics Reports in the Proceedings of RG2000, Taxco, 1999 More information at


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