Recommend Intro to QFT Book?

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  • #1
referframe
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Can anybody recommend a good introduction to QFT book? I'm looking for something that just barely classifies as a text book, with lots of tutorial verbiage between the equations. Thanks in advance.
 

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  • #2
Can anybody recommend a good introduction to QFT book? I'm looking for something that just barely classifies as a text book, with lots of tutorial verbiage between the equations. Thanks in advance.
McMahon's QFT Demystified is pretty good. Very cursory. Then from there the usual next-step is Zee's QFT in a nutshell. You still actually have to know the math of course. But it is much more hand-holdy than a standard graduate text.
 
  • #3
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The book "Quantum Field Theory" by Claude Itzykson and Jean-Bernard Zuber is one of the best introductory books on this subject.
 
  • #4
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As part of my post-mid-life crisis, I'm renewing my decades-old interest in physics. I've given up on actual "Intro to QFT" books, because it seems like there is always some point, whether in the first chapter or the second or the third, where I suddenly go from understanding everything to understanding nothing.

So now I'm reading "Introduction to Elementary Particles" by David Griffiths, which is properly speaking a pre-QFT book, but I just love the explanations in the text. He has anticipated many common misconceptions, and writes very clearly about the concepts behind the mathematics. Griffiths is my recommendation if you have tried introductory QFT books and been disappointed.
 
  • #5
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I've given up on actual "Intro to QFT" books, because it seems like there is always some point, whether in the first chapter or the second or the third, where I suddenly go from understanding everything to understanding nothing.
The only way to satisfy yourself is to be able to the computations. Only if you can manipulate the concepts you may have the opportunity to form your own understanding. Itzykson & Zuber, Weinberg, Peskin & Schroeder, even Zee, they all have exercises. Weinberg is worth having because it's fairly different. Canonical quantisation is postponed to the 7th chapter. I also love Ramond's Primers books.
 
  • #8
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“How to get started learning QFT as an undergraduate.” said:
Weinberg, The Quantum Theory of Fields, Vol I.
One of my favorite Zee quotes (from his ASTI lectures, I believe) is that, “The only person who can understand Weinberg is Weinberg.” The three volume set is a treasure trove of insight into QFT by one of the greats. Unfortunately, it’s nearly unreadable for someone who hasn’t studied QFT before. Even the typesetting, with its super-curly letters, is opaque. What I like about it: This is QFT taught by someone who’s spent a lot of time thinking about it (and contributing significantly to its development!). It’s full of lots of really deep insights. Why I was confused: … but for someone with no prior QFT background, extracting knowledge from Weinberg is like pulling teeth. His first volume approaches the subject from a different direction than any other text, making sure to take time to point out several subtleties along the way. A proper reading requires respectable background of representation theory. Conclusion: The first chapter is a good read as it presents a historical introduction to QFT. Otherwise, one can hold off on Weinberg until after finishing Peskin. I’ve started using Weinberg as a reference for particular topics (after some background), and have found his books very useful in this respect.
I do not claim objectivity, because I did learn QFT by myself using Weinberg for almost 2 years in the evenings. But I'd like to say, really understanding QFT will amount to pulling a teeth, no matter how. Much latter, when I was being taught QFT in school for a short 6 months, the other students kept being confused. QFT is hard, and can not be learnt in 6 months. The notation in Weinberg is difficult, because it is rigorous, and it requires attention at every line to think of the objects manipulated. What's great about Weinberg is that you can not read Weinberg and say "hold on, why could it not be different ?". The axioms are rigorously spelled out and details derivations are included.

If you know you will undergo QFT in school, and if you have 2 years to study in advance, go for Weinberg. The average grade in my class turned out like 7 points on a 20 rank. I scored 19.5 because I studied in advance.
 
  • #9
Landau
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@humanino: I will undergo QFT, and have 1 year in advance. So I'll try to make some time free to take a look at Weinberg :) Question: did your class use Weinberg as the (prescribed) textbook?
 
  • #10
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Question: did your class use Weinberg as the (prescribed) textbook?
No. We used Peskin & Schroeder. It is really a reference in the academic world.
 
  • #11
George Jones
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Can anybody recommend a good introduction to QFT book? I'm looking for something that just barely classifies as a text book, with lots of tutorial verbiage between the equations. Thanks in advance.
I second this for what referframe wants. Unfortunately, the LOOK INSIDE feature at amazon.com only gives a table of contents for the first volume of the two-volume set. For a table of contents of the second volume, see

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0750309504/ref=sib_rdr_dp&tag=.
 
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  • #12
I would highly recommend Srednicki's book on quantum field theory. I've used both this and Peskin's book when learning QFT. They both are excellent. Zee's book, Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell, is nice if you want something that reads more like a novel.
 
  • #13
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I recently got Greiner's Field Quantization, and it looks very good so far. The focus is narrower than most books. There are many detailed worked exercises.
 
  • #14
referframe
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Thank you all for the great recommendations. I'm going to start with Zee's Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell. Several user reviews said that mathematicians would like this book, that Zee's mathematics is rigorous and clearly explained. This works for me since my formal education was in math, not in physics. Also, it is reasonably priced.
 

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