What is Field theory: Definition and 550 Discussions

In theoretical physics, quantum field theory (QFT) is a theoretical framework that combines classical field theory, special relativity and quantum mechanics. QFT is used in particle physics to construct physical models of subatomic particles and in condensed matter physics to construct models of quasiparticles.
QFT treats particles as excited states (also called quanta) of their underlying quantum fields, which are more fundamental than the particles. Interactions between particles are described by interaction terms in the Lagrangian involving their corresponding quantum fields. Each interaction can be visually represented by Feynman diagrams according to perturbation theory in quantum mechanics.

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  1. Aethermimicus

    A The relation between ferromagnets, Phi4 and non-linear sigma model

    I'm struggling to understand the relation between phi4 theory,non-linear sigma model and ferromagnets. I've read this in a paper(Phys.Rev.B14(1976)3110):'It is possible to describe the long-distance behavior of the Heisenberg ferromagnets in two different ways:the phi4 theory which corresponds...
  2. T

    A How can I calculate the square of the Pauli-Lubanski pseudovector?

    Hello there, recently I've been trying to demonstrate that, $$\textbf{W}^2 = -m^2\textbf{S}^2$$ in a rest frame, with ##W_{\mu}## defined as $$W_{\mu} = \dfrac{1}{2}\varepsilon_{\mu\alpha\beta\gamma}M^{\alpha\beta}p^{\gamma}$$ such that ##M^{\mu\nu}## is an operator of the form $$...
  3. L

    B What are complex numbers good for?

    I was thinking of investigating field theory because i like reading about quantum interpretations. What role does complex numbers have in physics? I have a hard time seeing why properties of a point in that field are not just multi dimensional properties on some parameter space? Why start...
  4. StenEdeback

    Classical Looking for book about relativistic classical field theory

    Hi, I am trying to learn relativistic classical field theory as a preparation for studying quantum field theory. I am currently reading chapter 13 i Herbert Goldstein's Classical Mechanics edition 3, but I think that this book is a bit too brief and does not fully derive and explain the...
  5. A

    A Schrodinger equation in quantum field theory

    What is the Schrodinger equation in QFT? is it the nonrelativistic approximation of a Klein-Gordon scalar field? or Is there more? I have read that the Schrodinger equation describes a QFT in 0 dimensions. I accept every answer
  6. T

    Why was my post deleted on PF?

    I'm not aware of the mathcode here, so forgive me for not posting my work straight away. I simply need to ascertain what code first displays equations. $a$ a a
  7. A

    What benefits can this site offer to increase knowledge and understanding?

    Hi all, It is nice to be a member in this site! Hope it will be beneficial and add to my knowledge and understanding.
  8. L

    B Quantum field theory and wave particle duality

    I recently watched this lecture "Quantum Fields: The Real Building Blocks of the Universe" by David Tong where the professor provides a succinct explanation of QFT in about 6 minutes around the midway mark. The main point being that there are fields for particles and fields for forces and the...
  9. A. Neumaier

    A Ensembles in quantum field theory

    Then please explain how the transition in conceptual language from a single quantum field (extending all over spacetime, or at least over the lab during a day) to an ensemble of particles can be justified from the QFT formalism.
  10. lindberg

    I Unruh, Haag et al.: No Room for Particles in Quantum Field Theory?

    In a paper by Bain (2011), particles are left with little ontological value because of the Reeh-Schlieder theorem, the Unruh effect and Haag's theorem. The author claims (and here I am copying his conclusion): First, the existence of local number operators requires the absolute temporal metric...
  11. U

    A Question about dilaton monopole interaction derivation

    I am trying to understand how one derives the dilaton monopole interaction. In "Black holes and membranes in higher-dimensional theories with dilaton fields", Gibbons and Maeda mentioned that one could obtain the dilaton monopole interaction as such: where the action is given by However, I...
  12. joneall

    I Krauss's interpretation of gauge theory

    Lawrence Krauss, "The greatest story ever told ... so far", pp. 108-109. "Gauge symmetry in electromagnetism says that I can actually change my definition of what a positive charge is locally at each point of space without changing the fundamental laws associated with electric charge, as long...
  13. svenz706

    A Non-minimally coupled inflation — expansion

    Hello, In the Wikipedia article on "Inflaton" there appears the following formula: ##S=\int d^{4}x \sqrt{-g}[ \frac{1}{2}m^2_{P}R-\frac{1}{2}\partial^\mu\Phi\partial_{ \mu }\Phi-V(\Phi)-\frac{ 1 }{ 2}\xi R \Phi^]## with ##\xi## representing the strength of the interaction between R and...
  14. Delta2

    I Is a Unified Field Theory the Key to Understanding the Universe?

    Is there any approach in any books out there, where we consider that in universe exists only one field, let it be called the Unified Field (UF), in which all of the known fields (gravitational, EM field, quark field, gluon field, lepton field, Higgs Field, e.t.c.) are just components (pretty...
  15. gremory

    A S-Matrix in Quantum Field Theory

    Hello, i need help with the S-matrix. From what i understand, with the S-matrix i would be able to compute the scattering amplitude of some processes, is that correct? If so, how would i be able to do that if i have some field ##\phi(x,t)## in hands? Is that possible?
  16. ErikZorkin

    I Simulating physics: the current status of lattice field theories

    I recently watched this video by David Tong on computer simulation of quantum fields on lattices, fermionic fields in particular. He said it was impossible to simulate a fermionic field on a lattice so that the action be local, Hermitian and translation-invariant unless extra fermions get...
  17. strangerep

    A Meaning of "symbol" in algebraic field theory?

    I'm probably inadequately equipped to understand this paper by Bucholtz, Longo and Rehren on "Causal Lie products of free fields and the emergence of quantum field theory", but I decided to give it a try. Alas, I got stuck in the 1st para of sect 2 where it says: Although I've seen the term...
  18. Tan Tixuan

    I Classical field in quantum field theory?

    In quantum field theory, we have the following expansion on a scalar field (I follow the convention of Schwarz's book) $$\phi(\vec{x},t)=\int d^3 p \frac{a_p exp(-ip_\mu x^\mu)+a_p^{\dagger}exp(ip_\mu x^\mu)}{(2\pi)^3 \sqrt{2\omega_p}} \quad p^{\mu}=(\omega_p,\vec{p})$$ With commutation relation...
  19. StevieTNZ

    B "Quantum Field Theory, as Simply as Possible" upcoming publication

    I came across this upcoming book -- https://press.princeton.edu/books/hardcover/9780691174297/quantum-field-theory-as-simply-as-possible -- peer reviewed as it is published by Princeton University Press, which is due to be published in October. I've already ordered a copy coming from the UK. It...
  20. J

    A Can Membrane Field Theory Elucidate M-Theory?

    Hey guys, I just wanted to know if you think that a membrane field theory could ellucidate the non-perturbative framework of M-theory? Let me specify and explain what I mean by that: String field theory was intoduced to study the non-perturbative regime of string theory and some achievements in...
  21. Samama Fahim

    Total Momentum Operator for Klein Gordon Field

    As $$\hat{P_i} = \int d^3x T^0_i,$$ and $$T_i^0=\frac{\partial\mathcal{L}}{\partial(\partial_0 \phi)}\partial_i\phi-\delta_i^0\mathcal{L}=\frac{\partial\mathcal{L}}{\partial(\partial_0 \phi)}\partial_i\phi=\pi\partial_i\phi.$$ Therefore, $$\hat{P_i} = \int d^3x \pi\partial_i\phi.$$ However...
  22. BadgerBadger92

    Non Mathematical Quantum Field Theory Books?

    Are there any QFT books that use little to no math? If there is a little math that is okay. I don't know much about math. I am looking for good explanations on how it works without math. Any help would be great!
  23. J

    A Quantum Field theory vs. many-body Quantum Mechanics

    A lot of people say that Quantum Field theory (QFT) an Quantum Mechanics (QM) are equivalent. Yet, I've found others who dispute these claims. Among the counter-arguments (which I admittedly do not have the expertise to pick apart and check their validity in full) are the following: 1) While QFT...
  24. J

    A Concept of wavefunction and particle within Quantum Field Theory

    -1st: Could someone give me some insight on what a ket-state refers to when dealing with a field? To my understand it tells us the probability amplitude of having each excitation at any spacetime point, but I don't know if this is accurate. Also, we solve the free field equation not for this...
  25. E

    A Some basic questions about effective field theory (EFT)

    I had been studying this topic from various textbooks and review articles and I am confused about some terminologies and concepts. The question I have typed in this PDF. [Mentor Note -- Added screenshot of PDF contents]
  26. A

    I References for Hamiltonian field theory and Dirac Brackets

    I'm looking for complete and detailed references on constrained Hamiltonian systems and Dirac brackets. While my main interest is electrodynamics, I would prefer a complete exposition of the theory from the ground up. So far, my knowledge about the topic comes from books in QFT, like Weinberg...
  27. Paulpaulpa

    Spacetime translations and general Lagrangian density for Field Theory

    In Sydney Coleman Lectures on Quantum field Theory (p48), he finds : $$D\mathcal{L} = e^{\mu} \partial _{\mu} \mathcal{L}$$ My calulation, with ##\phi## my field and the variation of the field under space time tranlation ##D\phi = e^{\mu} \frac{\partial \phi}{\partial x^{\mu}}## ...
  28. D

    A BRST operator Q in string theory and string field theory

    In string theory, physical states satisfy QBΨ = 0, where QB is the BRST operator. This equation of motion can be obtained from an action S = ∫ QBΨ*Ψ + Ψ*Ψ*Ψ There is a gauge invariance under δΨ = QBΛ. what is the framework in which the role of the BRST operator QB is understood in open string...
  29. K

    A Introduction to topological field theory?

    Hi! I have been looking at differential forms, manifolds and de Rham cohomology. Now I'm trying to figure out the connection from cohomology and equations of motions and topological field theory. Problem is that I am only looking at abelian field theories and I only find introductions into...
  30. snypehype46

    Computing the spectrum of a Lagrangian in field theory

    I have the following lagrangian density: $$L = \bar{\psi}i \gamma^\mu \partial_\mu \psi - g\bar{\psi}(\sigma + i\gamma^5\pi)\psi + \frac{1}{2}(\partial_\mu \sigma)^2+ \frac{1}{2}(\partial_\mu \pi)^2 -V(\sigma^2 + \pi^2)$$ where $\pi$ and $\sigma$ are scalar fields. I have show that this...
  31. A

    Quantum Resources for learning Quantum Field Theory

    hello :) i would very much like study some quantum field theorie, but have not previously study any regular quantum mechanic (i am not so interest in regular quantum mechanic, but more the relativistic theories). so i ask, this is possible or not? to what extent knowledge of regular quantum...
  32. M

    I How to determine matching coefficient in Effective Field Theory?

    Assume that I have the Lagrangian $$\mathcal{L}_{UV} =\frac{1}{2}\left[\left(\partial_{\mu} \phi\right)^{2}-m_{L}^{2} \phi^{2}+\left(\partial_{\mu} H\right)^{2}-M^{2} H^{2}\right] -\frac{\lambda_{0}}{4 !} \phi^{4}-\frac{\lambda_{2}}{4} \phi^{2} H^{2},$$ where ##\phi## is a light scalar field...
  33. steve1763

    A Exploring Free and Interaction Terms of L in Quantum Field Theory

    With free part L=-½(∂Φ)^2 -½m^2 Φ^2 and interaction term L=½gΦ^2Any help would be appreciated, thank you.
  34. Haorong Wu

    Quantum Anyone tried "Problem Book in Quantum Field Theory" by Radovanovic?

    It is a wonderful book for learning QFT. Interesting problems with detailed solutions. I have tried the problems from chapter 1 to chapter 7. In most chapters, I could at least solve some part of the problems. But I got stuck in chapter 4, the Dirac equation. I could not solve any of the...
  35. phywithAK

    How can I find conserved current for a Lagrangian involving vector fields?

    Untill now i have only been able to derive the equations of motion for this lagrangian when the field $$\phi$$ in the Euler-Lagrange equation is the covariant field $$A_{\nu}$$, which came out to be : $$-M^2A^{\nu} = \partial^{\mu}\partial_{\mu}A^{\nu}$$ I have seen examples based on the...
  36. W

    I Renormalization of scalar field theory

    I was reading about the renormalization of ##\phi^4## theory and it was mentioned that in order to renormalize the 2-point function ##\Gamma^{(2)}(p)## we add the counterterm : \delta \mathcal{L}_1 = -\dfrac{gm^2}{32\pi \epsilon^2}\phi^2 to the Lagrangian, which should give rise to a...
  37. Demystifier

    A Philosophy of quantum field theory

    I usually don't read papers on philosophy of quantum field theory, but this one is really good: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/8890/ In particular, the prelude which I quote here is a true gem: "Once upon a time there was a community of physicists. This community be- lieved, and had good...
  38. fabstr1

    Simplification of the Proca Lagrangian

    Hello, I'm trying to figure out where the term (3) came from. This is from a textbook which doesn't explain how they do it. ∂_μ(∂L/(∂(∂_μA_ν)) = ∂L/∂A_ν (1) L = -(1/16*pi) * ( ∂^(μ)A^(ν) - ∂^(ν)A^(μ))(∂_(μ)A_(ν) - ∂_(ν)A_(μ)) + 1/(8*pi) * (mc/hbar)^2* A^ν A_ν (2) Here is Eq (1) the...
  39. N

    A General Covariance in Quantum Field Theory

    All physical laws have to be Lorentz invariant according to a lecture I just watched. Why is general covariance (which is more general than Lorentz invariance) not a requirement for all laws of physics? Are there any quantum gravity theories that take the approach of adding general covariance to...
  40. Phylosopher

    Quantum Is Zuber's Quantum Field Theory textbook any good?

    Hi, I have been studying Quantum Field Theory this semester! It seems that Shwartz and Peskin are the most popular choices when it comes to studying QFT. But apparently my professor have another "old" preference. He strongly suggested that we learn QFT from Zuber's book. I have looked at the...
  41. M

    What are the prerequisites to study quantum field theory?

    Summary:: What are the prerequisites to study quantum field theory? What are the prerequisites to study quantum field theory?
  42. T

    A Evaluating Matrix Spin Dependent Term in Dirac Quadratic Equation

    I derive the quadratic form of Dirac equation as follows $$\lbrace[i\not \partial-e\not A]^2-m^2\rbrace\psi=\lbrace\left( i\partial-e A\right)^2 + \frac{1}{2i} \sigma^{\mu\nu}F_{\mu \nu}-m^2\rbrace\psi=0$$ And I need to find the form of the spin dependent term to get the final expression $$g...
  43. Adwit

    A Quantum Field Theory: 3-4 Equation Steps Explained

    I understand how do 3 no. equation come from 1 & 2 no. equation. But I am struggling to understand how do 4 no. equation come from 3 no. equation. Will anyone do the steps between 3 no. equation and 4 no. equation, please ?
  44. John Greger

    A Solving Problems in "Conformal Field Theories" by Francesco

    I have been following the book called "Conformal Field Theories" by Francesco, also known as "the yellow pages". I do this for fun but, of course, sometimes it gets rather technical. Do there exist solutions to the problems in this book? I haven't found a solutions manual available. Many...
  45. Pispi Choudhury

    Courses Math & Physics Courses for Quantum & Statistical Field Theory

    Summary:: What are the relevant mathematics/ mathematical physics courses for studying quantum field theory and statistical field theory? I'm a physics undergraduate currently in my junior(third) year, thanks.
  46. Tiptoeingelephants

    I Quantum Field Theory question

    Trying to better understand quantum field theory, I've read that particles are created when it becomes an exitation of its quantum field. Would it then be right to think of a particle as the manifested kinetic energy of its field?
  47. D

    Trick for conserved currents in classical field theory

    First I found the equations of motion for both fields: $$\partial_\mu \partial^\mu \psi = -\frac{\partial V(\psi^* \psi)}{\psi^*}$$ The eq. of motion with the other field is simply found by ##\psi \rightarrow \psi^*## and ##\psi^* \rightarrow \psi## due to the symmetry between the two fields...
  48. G

    I Quantum field theory: an informative approach

    I'm looking for a book that describes the quantum field theory without going deeply in the theory with formulas or complex description of the mathematics under the theory. I know that this theory is really complex and it needs a deep knowledge of quantum physics in order to be understood. But...