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Collection of foundational papers?

  1. May 14, 2013 #1
    I'm looking for a collection of foundational papers (in English translation) on QFT/QED -- something like van der Waerden's excellent collection of foundational QM papers, but going beyond -- eg Dirac and Jordan's early work with EM field quantization, on through Yukawa and Feynman, and ideally even Yang-Mills and beyond....

    I'd thought I'd found it in Miller's Early QED: A Source Book...and the "background essay" at the beginning does cover virtually everything I'm looking for...but the actual papers that are included are much narrower.

    The only other thing that seems to come close is a collection edited by Schwinger -- but, first, the papers all appear to be in their original languages, and it too seems to be rather incomplete (or perhaps over-focused on QED in particular)...For example, it doesn't include Yukawa's foundational paper, either.

    Am I just asking too much? Any suggestions appreciated.

  2. jcsd
  3. May 15, 2013 #2


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    Check out
    John. C. Taylor, Gauge Theories in the Twentieth Century
    It contains a lot of original papers, including Yang - Mills, as well as Feynman's "Quantum theory of gravitation".

    If you are also interested in historical details of QFT without original papers, see also
    Mehra, Rechenberg, The Historical Development of Quantum Theory Part 2
  4. May 15, 2013 #3
    Wow -- a valuable lesson in "don't judge a book by its cover". Definitely putting this one on my buy-list.

    I have a few texts with summaries of varying length (Weinberg, Duncan, the aforementioned Miller), so my initial reaction to this was "not interested", but seeing the amount of detail present, this could be even more valuable than original papers...or, at the least, serve as a supplement to give them some more context.

    Thanks -
  5. May 15, 2013 #4


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    A good example of this lesson is also
    Whittaker, A History of the Theories of Aether and Electricity (part 2 - The Modern Theories)
    Despite the title, it contains an excellent and detailed history of quantum mechanics and relativity.
    For example, it is only after this book that I really understood how Heisenberg arrived at his matrix mechanics.
  6. May 15, 2013 #5
    Hey, I actually liked the covers of the Whittaker books ..but then, I'm in the apparent minority that finds the old Dover covers (eg take an image from the text, open in mspaint, randomly click around with the "fill" tool) charming.
    But totally agreed as to the content. Both volumes have a wealth of unique explanations.
  7. May 16, 2013 #6


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    What I actually meant is that, from the title, one would never expect to find so good explanations of quantum mechanics or general relativity.
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