PHY 523, Winter '10
QUANTUM FIELD THEORY II
||Mon+Wed 1-2.30pm, Randall 4404.
||?? in Randall 3481.
||Peskin and Schroeder, 'An Introdution to
Quantum Field Theory";
Westview Press 1995.
This course continues the study of quantum field theory initiated in PHY 513.
We develop the quantum theory of radiative corrections. Technically, the central concept is
loops in quantum field theory and their divergences. Physically, we interpret loops in terms
of the renormalization group. More broadly, we discuss quantum field field theory as an
Although we will develop quantum field theory primarily in the contect of particle physics the
techniques are highly relevant also in AMO, in statistical mechanics (particularly in critical
phenomena), and also in many body physics.
The last 7 lectures (sec 14, 15, 16, 19) form the technical basis for the standard model of particle
physics. Those students interested in applications to other fields can replace those last lectures with
a group project (talk to me for more detail).
For those students less interested in particle physics the last 8 lectures can be replaced by a project adapted to individual interest. For example a small group of students could study chapter 11/13 (effective
potentials and critical
phenomena, essential in cosmology and statistical mechanics), and give a presentation on parts of this material.
There are NUMEROUS textbooks on QFT. Each has slightly different emphasis and people
have different preferences. The following is a very incomplete list of recommended books that
you may consider as ressources:
1) Peskin and Schroeder: "an Introduction to Quantum Field Theory".
This is probably the most popular textbook for QFT courses at US graduate schools and it is
the book we use. It is fairly pedagogical and works out examples in much detail. Drawbacks:
rather long, somewhat chatty at times, and focussed on particle physics.
2) Weinberg:"Quantum Theory of Fields vol I+II".
The authoritative reference. Insightful, often original, always right; has the answer to all questions.
Drawback: too difficult for a first course on QFT (I think) and too long for a one-year course.
3) Itzykson and Zuber: "Relativistic Quantum Field Theory".
Very clear. A good alternative to PS which covers many of the same subjects with a similar
4) Landau+Lifshitz: Quantum Eletrodynamics,
Straight to the point. Many details on specific processes, including atomic and nuclear physics.
5) Zee: "Quantum Field Theory in a Nut-shell".
Focus on concept. Lots of entertaining anecdotes. Applications to many fields of study including
condensed matter physics.
Drawback: too little formalism for a primary text.
6) Ryder: Quantum Field Theory.
Relatively elementary. Introducing everything using path-integrals.
Drawback: a lot less material than PS, even more emphasis on particle physics.
7) Mandl and Shaw: Quantum Field Theory.
A viable alternative to PS. More concise and to the point.
Drawbacks: Fewer examples and less discussion.
8) Ramond: Quantum Field Theory, a modern Primer.
A good introductory book, fully based on path integrals.
Drawback: path integrals can be difficult for the beginner.
9) Srednicki: Quantum Field Theory.
A good new book at the right level for a course like this.
Recommended as supplementary reading.