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Quantum Field Theory book suggestions

  1. Feb 8, 2009 #1
    I have a fairly good background in mathematics (algebra, analysis, topology, differential geometry)... and a good physics background (till QM, general relativity). I am looking to study Quantum Field Theory on my own. I do not intend to master QFT completely and all its techniques, but want to understand its general framework and move on to a String theory book as soon as I can.

    I tried few pages of Peskin & Schroeder and did not like it much. I have started with Weinberg's book (vol 1). I like it very much so far, but I dont think I will be able to finish till Supersymmetry (vol 3) fairly soon. And even if I do, I would not be able to remember all that I read. So, I want to leave that aside as a reference book that I can look up to, on and off, in latter years.

    I have looked around for a 'quick' and 'deep enough' QFT book and I think Siegel's Fields ( http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/9912205 ) ebook will be a good one. I want a second opinion on that and also some other suggestions (of other books). I went through Srednicki's contents and have a good feeling about that too, though I am not sure how it compares to Siegel's Fields.

    ps: After QFT, I am planning to start with "String Theory and M-Theory: A Modern Introduction" by Katrin Becker, et al.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 8, 2009 #2
    If you want to start with string theory a.s.a.p., you don't need to go through all volumes of Weinberg.

    I highly advise you not to use Peskin and Schroeder for as an introductory book it is highly unreadable. The focus lies heavily on actually calculating stuff, but there's hardly any motivation on the why and how. Especially if you're not following a course but are more into self-study then this book is gonna take you two years getting through (Peskin uses the books for three semester courses)

    I personnally recommend Ryder as an introductory book. It covers a lot of topics in sufficient detail and it's also quite pleasent to read. Zee is also a nice book to have on the side, since in this case the focus lies at a conceptual level.

    You can also try to find some online lecture notes, which are usually free. There are some good ones out there.
  4. Feb 16, 2009 #3
    If you have enough knowledge in Relativistic quantum mechanics, I've been told, that you can actually follow Peskin and Schroeder with a paper and pencil to work through what he does.

    I recommend starting with Relativistic QM by Bjorken and Drell or Gauge theories by Aitchison and Hey (I assume you have already looked into Griffiths Particle Physics?), and then move onto QFT (Pesken and Schroeder, Itzykson and Zuber, Ryder, Srednicki, and Mandl and Shaw are all recommended by my professors here).

    If you are interested in supersymmetry, Ryder has an entire chapter dedicated to SUSY. Also, you might be interested in checking out "A Supersymmetry Primer" by Stephen Martin (Arxiv: hep-ph/9709356)
  5. Feb 16, 2009 #4
    Thanks everyone.
    I didnt like Peskin & Schroeder because he goes into the calculations too much and doesn't give a good enough 'unified' (for lack of a better word) conceptual and mathematical structure of QFT. I had thought of using Siegel's Fields and have Srednicki on the side mainly because Siegel doesnt spend too much time with calculations and presents the fundamental theory and its connections to scalar field theories and moves on.
    I will take a look at the other books suggested above (though not the particle physics books - I would like to start with books that give me a strong theory than results).
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