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Quantum field theory books

  1. Aug 7, 2007 #1
    I was wondering if anybody knew any good books that give an easy to understand quantum field theory. I am talking from a view point of a person who has read the third volume of the feynman lectures and quantum mechanics demystified. if this is not enough to even start a easy to understand quantum field theory book could you tell me what other books that you recommend I should read in order to have prerequisites fulfilled in order to being an easy to understand quantum field theory book.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 7, 2007 #2

    George Jones

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    What is the level of your backgorund in special relativity? Applied math?
  4. Aug 7, 2007 #3


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    it's no good if you only read books on the matter without even exercise it.
  5. Aug 7, 2007 #4
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2007
  6. Aug 7, 2007 #5
    i have fairly good knowledge on tensor analysis and general relativity.
  7. Aug 7, 2007 #6
    I can only speak of my own experience. I tried to get started with Kaku, Zee, and Srednicki and failed each time. Now I have started with Ryder and have the most success I have had yet. Even so, it's very slow going. Why is that called a steep learning curve?
  8. Aug 8, 2007 #7

    George Jones

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    I usually recommend A Modern Inroduction to Quantum Field Theory by Michele Maggiore.

    I asked about relativity because helps to have seen treatments of the Lorentz and Poincare groups, including their generators. I asked about applied math because it helps to know about the residue theorem.

    As Jimmy Snyder has said, it often takes a number of tries to find a book suitable for a particular person.
  9. Aug 9, 2007 #8
    Well, OK, it's a looooong learning curve.
  10. Aug 9, 2007 #9
    are you sure that this book is easy to understand because so far I have had trouble understanding "An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory" by Micheal E. Peskin and Daniel V. Schroeder and Srednicki's Quantum Field Theory.
  11. Aug 9, 2007 #10


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    You might want to consider studying advanced quantum mechanics, theory of special relativity and relativistic quantum mechanics before entering QFT.

    Modern Quantum Mechanics, Revised Edition; J.J sakurai;ISBN10: 0201539292
    Introduction to Special Relativity; Robert Resnick; ISBN10: 0471717258
    Relativistic Quantum Mechanics and Field Theory; Franz Gross; ISBN10: 0471353868

    Are you or have you taken courses in physics?
  12. Aug 9, 2007 #11
    Here is an abridged and revised version of Coleman's 'legendary' lectures.

    When you find anywhere, on the net or in your libary a better introductory text then I eat a head.
  13. Aug 9, 2007 #12
    Maggiore starts out at a pretty mathematically sophisticated level with a discussion of Lie groups. I think Srednicki does assume some previous exposure to canonical quantization. You may want to start with books that cover advanced QM topics like Quantum Mechanics II by Rubin Landau or Lectures on Quantum Mechances by Gordon Baym.
  14. Aug 9, 2007 #13
    I completely agree with smallphi's comments here: https://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Quantum-Theory-Frontiers-Physics/dp/0201503972 (the last reviewer)

    I bought the book because it was the one that was in the local bookstore, but it seems that I should have found out more about different books.
  15. Aug 9, 2007 #14
    for learing advance quantum mechanics before starting QFT and assuming you already know relativity is "Quanum Theory" by David Bohm
  16. Aug 10, 2007 #15
    Well, I meant hat rather. I'm not that scary.

    But please really try my above mentioned lecture notes. They are all what Peskin is not. That is plenty of conceptual explanations and the ideas behind the calculations.
  17. Aug 12, 2007 #16
    is "Quantum Theory" by David Bohm a good book that covers all of quantum mechanics?
  18. Aug 13, 2007 #17
    If you want something inexpensive, Park's book is more modern.
  19. Jan 6, 2009 #18
    Hi, sorry for posting on an old thread.

    I am a graduate student (MSc) in particle physics, and I am looking for a RQM/QFT book. My professor has suggested the following books and I was wondering which book would be the best choice:

    Aitchison and Hey: Gauge Theories in Particle Physics
    Itzykson and Zuber: Quantum Field Theory
    Peskin and Schroeder: An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory
    Gross: Relativistic Quantum Mechanics and Field Theory
    Ryder: Quantum Field Theory
    Quigg: Gauge Theories of the Strong, Weak, and Electromagnetic Interactions
    Guidry: Gauge Field Theories: An Introduction with Applications
    Bjorken and Drell: Relativisitc Quantum Mechanics
    Wu and Pauchy Hwang: Relativistic Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Fields

    Obviously prices are issues to consider, but I am willing to pay if the book is that much better. Feel free to suggest other books that would be good for my level (I have used Sakurai for Non-Relativistic Quantum Mechanics course). Thank you in advance!
  20. Jan 8, 2009 #19


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    Gross I recommend since I use it myself! :-) It is quite easy to follow and good notation and detailed. Altough, the logic if the book might not be the best and sometimes you must figure out in what order to study topics and some topics are not presented in their most general form. e.g. the section about Gauge theories is applied to the Dirac lagrangian, and not the most general one.

    Peskin, Requires more background than gross, Gross starts with developing concepts of cross section, fourier decomposition, Klein Gordon equation, Lorentz group and Dirac Equation, Peskin requires one to be almost entire familiar with those topics before you can begin to real stuff. The good thing is that things are presented in a quite general way and it covers lot of material and is detailed (hence almost 900pages!). Also it is standard, you can easy google and find answers/hints/solutions to excersices, errata and comments on the material covered in the book.

    Otherwise the textbook of Mandl is really good and easy if you only want to learn upp to standard electroweak interactions, the book is only 350 pages. The bad thing is that the notation is quite old =/
    Also it requires a little background of KG and Dirac equation from elsewhere...

    Hope my comments were useful, I am not an expert on QFT at all! I am learning myself at the moment and is using these 3 books.

    I can also comment on Mark Srednicki's book "Quantum Field Theor" from cambridge that is really good, but advanced. It could be classified as a mixture of Peskin and Gross, with flow diagram - there are like 80 chapters of the book and each chapter has its own pre-requirements, so that is quite good feature if one wants to self study.

    Final advise: Get Gross, if you are looking for one book
  21. Feb 23, 2009 #20
    A. Zee, Quantum Field Theory in A Nutshell.
  22. Feb 25, 2009 #21
    There is a new edition of Mandl & Shaw listed at Amazon, but it looks like its release date has slipped. Amazon US says January 30, 2009, but Amazon Canada says September 2009.
  23. May 7, 2011 #22
    I am an Msc student in Theoretical Physics, and although our official reference textbooks are most of those you mentioned (esp. Peskin & Schroeder), I would by far recommend Walter Greiner's "Field Quantization" book. i starts from the classical field theory then moves to free theory for spin 0, 1/2 and 1 particles, before finally moving to interactions with a deep coverage of LSZ reduction formula and thorough analysis and examples of Wick's Theorem. It cover less than Peskin/Schroeder, because topics like Renormalization or QCD are covered in two other books of Walter Greiner, but all the calculation are made in great detail and its the best pedagogical text which doesn't sacrifice anything in terms of physics or rigor. Some mathematical issues like the appropriate mathematical type of convergence that must be adopted within QFT are discussed in detail as well as some other topics that are usually kept for mathematicians. The book is so well explained that understanding it is not a challenge at all although the subject is actually very difficult in itself. After having read it, other books like Peskin/schroeder or Weinberg become a piece of cake to follow, and reading them becomes a pleasure instead of a torture.

    Yoi can have a look at the amazon review:
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  24. May 7, 2011 #23
    Which Greiner book covers renormalization?

    I agree that Field Quantization is a good intro that's often overlooked.
  25. May 7, 2011 #24
    Thanks for the excellent link. They now have a complete set of video lectures from a young Coleman.

    Unfortunately, they are about 1GB each. Given that they are low-res black and white, you would think someone at Harvard would be able to make them a tenth that size, with no loss in resolution.

    Edit: Just noticed I was responding to a post that's four years old. Oh well.

    BTW, it's so amazing how much society has changed in a generation. Coleman smokes cigarettes throughout his lectures.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  26. May 21, 2011 #25
    Renormalization is covered in both Greiner's Quantum Electrodynamics (see in particular the chapter "scattering matrix in higher order") and in Quantum Chromodynamics.
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