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Recommendations of good books

  1. Nov 14, 2004 #1
    Hello everyone, I wanted to ask you if you could recommend some, in your mind, excellent books( That every physicist would want) of the Quantum side of the universe. As im still an undergrad, I still am unclear about how QED, QCD, ect fit into the Quantum Universe. I would also like them to have a little history of each theory. IF I am unclear, please say so and I will try to elaborate more. Again, thanks for your replies. :smile:
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  3. Nov 14, 2004 #2


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    As first introductions to field theory, I think Griffith's Introduction to Elementary Particle and Aitchison and Hey's Gauge Theories in Particle Physics are the best. As an historical account, my all-time favorite is "The second Creation" by Crease and Mann.


  4. Nov 14, 2004 #3
    Thank you! I will look in to them
  5. Nov 14, 2004 #4


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    You're very welcome. Those are really the best starting points, imho.

    As next steps after these books, I would suggest "Quarks and leptons" by Halzen and Martin, "Gauge Theories of the Strong, Weak, and Electromagnetic Interactions" by Chris Quigg as well as "Relativiistic Quantum Mechanics and Field Theory" by Gross.

    And any book by Greiner is highly recommended (QCD, QED, etc etc).

    After that, you can get to Peskin and Schroeder, Cheng and Li, the first two field theory books by Weinberg, "Quantum Field Theory in a nutshell" by Zee, "Dynamics of the Standard Model" by Donoghue et al.
  6. Nov 16, 2004 #5
    A good book is also Brian Greenes "The Fabric of the Cosmos". It is non-mathematical and rather for the non-physicist. But it is a good introduction and gives an overview on all theories (quantum, relativity, strings/branes). But maybe you know it already.
    Have fun reading,
  7. Nov 16, 2004 #6
    ya im reading that right now. Im looking for more like a textbook type with actual mathematics. Thanks though for the suggestion
  8. Nov 17, 2004 #7
    I very much agreed until :
    Watch out Greiner, because they are full of mistakes, and not thoroughly planned with hindsight : where is the global logical structure of the presentation in Greiner's series ? Greiner's series is only a collection of solved examples and exercises.
  9. Nov 17, 2004 #8
    Do you include Field Quantization by Walter Greiner, Joachim Reinhardt, J. Reinhardt in this critique?


    Or what book would you recommend for an intro into the mathematical details of QFT. I'm looking for a book that hides no technique in its step from one formula to the next.
  10. Nov 18, 2004 #9
    Yes. Now I admit that if you take one single volume of the collection and deal with a specific aspect of QFT, many detailed calculation can be found in Greiner's series (which in turn explains the fact that there are mistakes : since mistakes are unavoidable anyway, the more calculational content, the more mistakes too...). I am reproaching with for instance, the fact that "Relativistic Quantum Mechanics" is a separate volume to the one you quote. That is true, it is a different subject, yet one could prefer books dealing with the entire subject of QFT (and to a certain extent the standard model) rather than separate volumes often repeating each other and worse of all not even in a completely coherent fashion (the fact that those volumes have been written separately) I do have 6 volumes of this series, so I am not telling they are the worse books ever. I like them as a practical tool.

    For instance, one has little hope to ever find a single book dealing with both formal aspect of QFT and nuclear models at the level of details found in Greiner's. But this series provides "only" detailed calculations, and with respect to QuantumDefect's original question, I would not recommend them to an undergraduate willing to get an historical overview. IMHO QuantumDefect should first concentrate on concepts. If you can go through "Quarks and leptons" by Halzen and Martin then you can postpone use of Greiner's series to specific later problems.
    Do you even think it is possible really ? If you aim at reconstructing every little formula in details, it is going to take a while. It only depends on what you want and how fast you need it. If you aim at calculating Feynman diagrams and make quantitative predictions, then you can achieve this much faster than reading the whole Greiner's series.

    In fact, I picture Greiner's series as a dictionnary, or an encyclopedia. I do not expect it to be read linearly, not only is it too much pain but it does not seem much useful to me.
    For an intro, maybe Quantum Field Theory of Point Particles and Strings. It is difficult to tell really, depending on what you want at which level.
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