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A good book on QFT for an undergrad

  1. Oct 9, 2009 #1
    Im still in 2year college, and studyin QM alone, would like to know a good book for QFT that I can understand. I have some questions that seems can only be answered with QFT, right now, im half way through the Griffith's QM book..!

    thx a lot guys..!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 9, 2009 #2
    Start with Quantum Field Theory DeMystified by David McMahon

    Once you've gone through that.... Then

    Bank's Modern Quantum Field Theory - A Concise Introduction
    Zee's Quantun Field Theory

    Also Sakurai's books are pretty good.

    One weird thing about QFT is that different authors will present it in different ways so that it's not obvious that they are talking about the same theory.
     
  4. Oct 9, 2009 #3

    George Jones

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    After finishing Griffiths' QM book, I recommend moving on to either Introduction to Elementary Particles (2nd edition) by Griffiths, or the two-volume set Gauge Theory in Particle Physics (3rd edition) by Aitchison and Hey.
     
  5. Oct 9, 2009 #4

    jambaugh

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    Sakurai's book, http://www.pearsonhighered.com/educator/product/Advanced-Quantum-Mechanics/9780201067101.page" [Broken] provides a good solid starting point.

    There's also Lewis Ryder's http://www.librarything.com/work/260474"

    These are older texts and so somewhat outdated with regard to recent developments but they are solid introductions to the subject.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  6. Oct 10, 2009 #5
    I am pretty much right at the stage you are at physics-wise. I am planning on taking a QFT course next fall, and my plan is: 1) finish Griffiths' Quantum Mechanics 2) read Introduction to Elementary Particles by Griffiths 3) A First Book of Quantum Field Theory by Lahiri and Pal.

    The course I'll be taking uses An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory by Peskin and Schroeder, which from what I understand concentrates on calculations, and I think the above sequence will prepare me on the conceptual side. Lahiri and Pal, from the table of contents, seems to go over the same material as Peskin/Schroeder, but at a more elementary level. I'm choosing to go over Griffiths' elementary particles book because it has introductions to 4-vectors, Feynman diagrams, and general ideas of particle physics, while not requiring much besides his quantum mechanics book.
     
  7. Oct 12, 2009 #6

    George Jones

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    Given your background, you might be interested in Quantum Field Theory: A Tourist Guide for Mathematicians by Gerald Folland

    https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Theory-Mathematical-Surveys-Monographs/dp/0821847058

    http://books.google.ca/books?id=3JX...resnum=2&ved=0CAwQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=&f=false

    Altthough Folland doesn't cover as much as Peskin and Schroeder, Folland does cover a lot more than most rigourous math books on quantum field theory. Folland uses rigour where possible, and where physicists quantum field theory calculations have yet to be made mathematically rigourous, Folland states the mathematical difficulties, and then pushes through the physicists calculations.

    I've been waiting for fifteen years for someone to write this book, and now I don't have time to read it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2009
  8. Oct 12, 2009 #7

    Landau

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    Wow, that looks like a beautiful book. Thanks George Jones!
     
  9. Oct 14, 2009 #8
    Thanks George! I currently don't really know Lagrangian/Hamiltonian mechanics or anything other than basic special relativity. Do you think I should be okay with this book and Larihi/Pal? I was planning on picking up the short and sweet message of mechanics by reading through Mechanics by Landau/Lifgarbagez and then picking up what I need of special relativity through these books and Griffiths elementary particles book.
     
  10. Oct 15, 2009 #9

    jambaugh

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    Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics is not that big a leap if you have the mathematical preliminaries. (You should if you're tacking QFT) I think its not too difficult to try picking up the essentials on your own and I think you can get the gist reading wikipedia articles. The critical components are:

    Variational principles (optimizing a functional integral) of which the least (or rather stationary) action principle in physics is the arch-example. That's Lagrangian mechanics.
    You should go through the derivation of the Euler-Lagrange equations in various examples. (First single coordinate, x(t) then vector X=(x,y,z) then the continuum case where one works with a Lagrangian density.)

    There is then the Legendre transformation which maps from x and v=dx/dt to x and p whence one moves from the Lagrangian to the Hamiltonian formulation. One learns Hamilton's equations, Poisson brackets and canonical transformations on phase space.

    And finally if you want to tackle it Noether's theorem.

    It's from the Hamiltonian mechanics that we usually make the leap from Classical to Quantum (canonical quantization) but its with the Lagrangian that we generally formulate base theories. BTW In classical mechanics the Lagrangian formulation seems a bit like voodoo but once you get to quantum theory the quantity we associate with "action" has a perfectly operational meaning as the phase of the system as it propagates. Stationary action then simply reflects interference between the possible classical paths the system can take.

    But I think you will definitely need to appreciate the language of both Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics if you are going to start tackling QFT. The classical Lagrangian is the typical starting point.
     
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