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Guidance in learning Particle Physics

  1. Apr 30, 2013 #1
    I want to start self-learning particle physics, and was wondering if any of you can give me some pointers as to what to do in terms of books to read, maths to learn, etc.

    Some background: I have taken undergrad level quantum mechanics 1 and 2 (completed Griffiths), and also a course on abstract algebra (basic group theory + intro to rings and fields).

    My current plan for the short term: I plan to self-study from Griffiths' "Introduction to Elementary Particles" (heard great things about it), and also concurrently self-study Lie Algebra this summer.

    I then plan to move on to slightly more formal books on particle physics (any recommendations?).

    Any kind of input is welcomed and much appreciated. Thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 30, 2013 #2
    Your background sounds good. Have you taken an undergraduate electromagnetism course? That will be helpful at some point.

    If what you really want to learn is quantum field theory, Griffiths's book gives some flavor of this but doesn't derive everything from first principles and will probably leave you wondering, for example, where the Feynman rules come from. Spending some time with Griffiths is probably a good idea, but only as a way of preparing for "real" QFT.

    Then some standard standard QFT textbooks are by Srednicki; Peskin & Schroeder; and Zee. I like Srednicki's book as a thorough introduction which works everything out in the simplest possible QFT before moving on to QED. Peskin & Schroeder is also very thorough but I found it less accessible because it dives directly into QED. Zee is not good as a main book to learn from, but has some useful insights. Having more than one QFT book is a good idea.

    Lie algebras are an excellent topic to study alongside QFT.

    If you haven't already, you'll want to learn a bit about the technique of solving integrals by contour integration. But it's not too complicated and you can just wait until you run into it in a textbook and then Google will turn up plenty of useful sites that will teach you about it.
  4. May 5, 2013 #3
    Thanks The_Duck for the response. I have indeed taken an EM course, in fact I'm finishing the second half of Griffiths this semester in my second undergrad EM course.

    Also luckily I do have some experience with contour integration, from a course on mathematical methods in physics I took last year.

    Also thanks for the book recommendations. Any recommendations on Lie Algebra books?

    Thanks again.

    Though I must say, with over a hundred views and only 1 reply, I am quite disappointed.
  5. May 5, 2013 #4
    The_Duck recommendations are good, but keep in mind that they have to do with quantum field theory. It is probably indispensable to spend some time learning quantum field theory on its own if you want to study particle physics. I post some recommendations on particle physics.

    "Lie Algebras in Particle Physics : from Isospin To Unified Theories"
    Howard Georgi
    Frontiers in Physics, Westview Press

    "An introduction to Gauge Theories and Modern Particle Physics"
    Leader & Predazzi
    Cambridge Monographs on Particle Physics, Nuclear Physics and Cosmology

    "Dynamics of the Standard Model"
    Donoghue, Golowich & Holstein

    "Gauge Field Theories"
    Stefan Pokorski

    Particle Data Group review (2012)
    Last edited: May 5, 2013
  6. May 5, 2013 #5


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    Staff: Mentor

    Sometimes you actually get what you pay for. :wink:
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