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Readings for a general understanding of Quantum Field Theor?

  1. Apr 1, 2015 #1
    Hi all,
    I have an undergraduate degree in Physics, but I've since specialized in more environmental applications of Physics. I've taken a few quantum Physics courses as part of my degree, but, if I'm being honest, what I took from those courses was more of a mathematical view of the field, such as how to solve the Schrodinger equation under certain scenarios.

    Looking back on it, I'm not sure that I ever got a good intuitive feel for what these courses were actually about in terms of the bigger picture they were trying to describe nor how the material actually connected to real observable phenomena.

    I'm not looking to become an expert in quantum phenomena, but I'd like to have a little be more of an intuitive understanding of what the field is about and its current state. In particular, I'm quite interested in looking into the view that fields are the fundamental entities in nature with particles as just excitations of fields, which I struggle to wrap my head around a little.

    The issue I find is that quantum mechanics textbooks that deal with these topics end up being overly technical - I don't mind brushing up on my math, but I don't want to spend months doing so - while many popular texts go through such contortions to avoid using technical language that they almost make the material less understandable.

    Are there any texts or books (or even open learning courses) that are good middle ground for this material? Maybe something written for a technical audience but for non-specialists?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 1, 2015 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Unfortunately with QFT you have hit the wall. There is no middle ground - you either do full blown QFT or you are left with highly unsatisfactory hand-wavey explanations.

    My suggestion, with your background, is the following:

    He carefully explains exactly what's going on - but it will require your attention and take time. However it does not gloss over details and, for example, exactly spells out how particles come about - as well as why once you incorporate relativity with QM inevitably particles can be created and destroyed hence you must have a quantum field. Other books tend to have you fill in the gaps.

  4. Apr 2, 2015 #3
    Thanks, Bill.
    I'll have a look into the book and see if that helps. I appreciate the input!

    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
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