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Quantum Field Theory Books

  1. Dec 2, 2014 #1
    I'm looking for a good beginner book about QFT. Thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 2, 2014 #2
    I personally learned from Peskin & Schroder, so I would recommend that! It's also good to look at variety of sources, even if it's briefly browsing books in the library, just so you can be exposed to different points of view.
  4. Dec 2, 2014 #3
    Great! Thanks a lot!
  5. Dec 2, 2014 #4


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    Not at the beginner level.

    Starting out the following is the best book I have found - I am going through it right now - the Kindle edition is a good price as well:

    After that I would get Zee:

    Then I would attempt Peskin & Schroder.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  6. Dec 2, 2014 #5
    Aitcheson and Hey. Feynman and Hibbs book on path integrals in quantum mechanics is also good. Not really QFT, except it gets to QED towards the end a little bit.
  7. Dec 3, 2014 #6


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    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  8. Dec 3, 2014 #7


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    I'd start with Ryder or the pretty new book by M. D. Schwartz. Another very good book, based on the path-integral approach, is Bailin+Love, Gauge Field theories. I learnt my QFT from Ryder and Bailin+Love at the time. After this the best books on the subject are Weinberg's three volumes, The Quantum Theory of Fields, but these are definitely not for beginners.

    Peskin-Schroeder has its merits in providing good insight into the practical side of perturbative calcuations (evaluation of Feynman diagrams) using dimensional regularization. However, it's also not well suited for the beginner since it is full of typos and sometimes conceptually not accurate enough (e.g., there are dimensionful arguments in logarithms occuring in loop integrals, and ironically this occurs in the chapter on the renormalization group, which is on the other hand didactics wise very good). Particularly good in this book is the explanation of cross sections and how they are calculated from the S matrix, discussing very carefully the issue using wave packets.

    The only book, I explicitly do not recommend at all is Zee's QFT in a Nutshell. It's very superficial and more confusing than illuminating the issue, particularly for beginners. It has some didactical gems, which are nice to have at hand as a lecturer, but one has to work it out in much more detail to make it valuable for the students.
  9. Dec 3, 2014 #8
    I'd also recommend om Lancaster's Quantum Field Theory for Gifted Amateurs, and agree that Zee's book is not really helpful for beginners. I think older books like Ryder, Peskin & Schroeder, etc, are simply outclassed pedagogically by newer books like Lancaster and the previously mentioned Schwartz.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2014
  10. Dec 7, 2014 #9
    How about something like Griffiths "Elementary Particle Physics"? I would definitely think that it would qualify as an "introductory" QFT book. I feel it introduces many things that are formalized and fleshed-out in "real" QFT books.
  11. Dec 7, 2014 #10


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    I've always thought that Griffiths' book on particle physics is better than his texts on normal quantum mechanics and electrodynamics. But people usually by QFT they want more than what Griffiths is telling us in his book. There are some wonderful texts over the last years to go with the 'classics' such as Ramond, Ryder and Weinberg for an advanced treatment.
  12. Dec 7, 2014 #11
    I understand what you're getting at, but I was focusing more on the idea of "introductory". I think Griffiths' PP book serves as a good sneak peak or transition. I'm certainly using it that way. It also has the benefit of explicitly going through a fair bit of relativity theory.
  13. Dec 12, 2014 #12
    Lancaster's book sounds extremely promising although I've not seen it yet. Skimming over "Student Friendly QFT" that one looks promising too (although I read that someone said that the author of this book made a bunch of trivial mistakes in something else and is thus dubious about this book).

    One not yet mentioned here, that absolutely should be, is the Sdrednicki QFT book. I took a course based on this book and it was great.

    Those three might make for a good start perhaps.

    The Schwartz book is supposed to be good and might be something to add on and head into after or once you get started a little with those or along with those.

    And you can always add on P&S too.

    The Feynman&Hibbs book is another interesting one to have on the side.

    Zee has some interesting stuff and help to make certain things clear.... after you already know it hah. It's weird in that it presents some stuff that would help you know it that others forget to do and yet it's so sparse and odd in many ways that it seems almost impossible to me to really be able to learn it from this book.

    I'd say that the P&S + Zee + Weinberg combo that some still suggest would be a very, ervy tricky way to start for most.

    P&S doesn't necessarily make it entirely clear why you are doing things and what is going on in the clearest fashion at all times so it can be tricky as the only book to start with. It does get into some good stuff though for certain kinds of basic calculating.

    Weinberg books tend to be tricky and written in that old physicist style of book writing. Using those alone to start out would be rather intense and confusing for many. There is a pretty big leap between what most have covered and then suddenly you are there with his book without likely either his genius or his years of background on everything. Some say it's the place to start, but I wonder if most haven't had various exposure to this or that beforehand and really much farther along the typical person is when they first hit QFT (or just showing off and acting as if they breezed straight into it from basic undergrad course and nothing else). Once you have done some of the intro books at the top and even the rest then it can be cool stuff.

    Although apparently a few have managed it, I can't imagine using Zee as the main and only way to first learn QFT. It's a very strange book in a way. (OTOH his General Relativity book is just flat out awesome no matter how you look at it and is a top notch way to jump right into GR if you want a full on approach from the start (although certain not like Ward full on, the Ward book is intense and not a starting point for GR at all).

    Some find it easier to have done General Relativity and basically everything else first to get more solidly grounded in dealing with complex topics before getting into QFT. Although with some of these newer books it might be a bit easier than it used to be to dive into QFT sooner.
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