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Recommend Intro Books to Particle Physics?

  1. Feb 27, 2010 #1
    Hello everyone-

    I was wondering if anyone could recommend introductory books on particle physics? I'm looking for something an undergrad could read as if they were taking a beginning course. Ive searched Amazon and found tons of college textbooks only I'm not sure which ones are good. Would anyone mind naming one or two they know of or heard is good? Perhaps one you've read yourself or used to teach?
    I'm not currently enrolled in a intro to particle physics class, but would like to read on the subject myself. I know there is some math I currently wouldn't understand (I'm currently enrolled in the Calculus series in my college so my current understanding of mathematics only applies to those courses) but Id like to read about it anyway, at least to get a feel of the concepts.

    Or, a better question, are there books preceding this topic that I should read to get a better understanding? Thanks very much if anyone has any useful comments =)
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 27, 2010 #2


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    Griffiths' book is the best, in my opinion. But if you haven't yet taken a course in quantum mechanics, I don't know how much you'll be able to get out of it (or any particle physics book).
  4. Feb 27, 2010 #3
    Ah thanks a lot =) Well, I guess perhaps I should try and find a book that doesnt cover too much math concepts? Im just trying to get a basic idea of what Im interested in, perhaps college textbooks might not be my answer? I was advised to get them anyway just to have a look...
  5. Feb 28, 2010 #4


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    If you don't have a quantum class, much less calculus, you're best bet is a laymans book on particle physics (there are a ton of them around). I suggest amazon b/c its been years since I can remember my first introduction to particle physics as a laymen (I think I might have read a Feynman book first, but I don't remember).

    The college progression is generally: Calculus --> classical mechanics/em --> EM/mechanics/statmech 2(hopefully you get enough special relativity therein as well as the theory of classical particle scattering) --> quantum mechanics 1 --> introduction to particle and nuclear physics course --> quantum 2 --> field theory --> bonafide modern particle physics. Ideally you'd have optics in there as well (the forgotten class) as well as a number of math classes or a mathematical physics class to make life easier.

    Strictly speaking, particle physics is really a graduate level class (or an advanced class for a senior). The first time around in the intro classes, it didn't make a lot of sense to me and seemed hopelessly arbitrary and mystical. Skipping any one topic above makes life a lot harder.
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