# Virtual photons

• Quantum

I am searching for anything on quantum fluctuations and virtual bosons for someone who is a serious but amateur physicist ie. I have completed undergrad physics/math and some graduate level math at university. I am having a hard time finding anything that isn't beyond pop science. Not really sure if I'm willing to put down 100+ $on a textbook but I seem to be left with little choice. Any suggestions would be great! Thanks ## Answers and Replies Related Science and Math Textbooks News on Phys.org phinds Science Advisor Gold Member I suggest a forum search to see what you can find here. I suggest a forum search to see what you can find here. Search for threads or through the free texts? phinds Science Advisor Gold Member Search for threads or through the free texts? What are "the free texts" ? What are "the free texts" ? The thread that is marked free science books and lists free texts phinds Science Advisor Gold Member Ah, I see. No I was not suggesting that you look for a book (although that's not a bad idea) but that you search the threads for your topics of interest. That's what it MEANS to do a "forum search". Ah, I see. No I was not suggesting that you look for a book (although that's not a bad idea) but that you search the threads for your topics of interest. That's what it MEANS to do a "forum search". But that's just it I'm looking for books or pdf's, I suppose a good thread would help but I'm interested more in depth. Vanadium 50 Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Education Advisor I don't think you're going to find what you want: an in-depth book that is not a textbook nor a popularization, one that's accessible to someone without all the prerequisites., I don't think you're going to find what you want: an in-depth book that is not a textbook nor a popularization, one that's accessible to someone without all the prerequisites., What would a good text be then? Vanadium 50 Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Education Advisor I don't think you're going to find what you want What would a good text be then? Again, I don't think you're going to find what you want. Again, I don't think you're going to find what you want. So I should just stop studying physics? Vanadium 50 Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Education Advisor So I should just stop studying physics? Drama will not make a nonexistent book appear. phinds Science Advisor Gold Member @dsaun777 you have asked questions and we have given you answers. Your not liking the answers isn't going to get you anywhere. @dsaun777 you have asked questions and we have given you answers. Your not liking the answers isn't going to get you anywhere. Drama will not make a nonexistent book appear. So there are no texts at the undergrad or graduate level at all on virtual particles? DarMM Science Advisor Gold Member So there are no texts at the undergrad or graduate level at all on virtual particles? Virtual particles are an element of a calculational method in Quantum Field Theory called perturbation theory. So what you need to study is Quantum Field Theory. You might enjoy A. Zee's "Quantum Filed Theory in a Nutshell", Lancaster and Blundell's "Quantum Field Theory for the gifted amateur" or Klauber's "Student Friendly Quantum Field Theory". New and especially used copies aren't in the$100 range for any of them.

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Staff Emeritus
Not really sure if I'm willing to put down 100+ \$ on a textbook
So there are no texts at the undergrad or graduate level at all on virtual particles?
If your requirements keep shifting (not a textbook, then a textbook), we can't help you. What exactly are you looking for?

If your requirements keep shifting (not a textbook, then a textbook), we can't help you. What exactly are you looking for?
Now I'm looking for a textbook, I realize what I'm looking for can only be found there. I was just apprehensive about purchasing a pricey textbook so I was hoping for a cheaper alternative. However, I like DarMM suggestions and will start with those.

vanhees71
Gold Member
So I should just stop studying physics?
No, you should start or, given your preknowledge indicated in #1, rather continuing studying physics. With your prerequesites it shouldn't be a problem to just go on! Before starting relativististic quantum-field theory, it's important to have a good knowledge of non-relativistic quantum theory, represented in the representation free Dirac formalism. The most helpful prerequisite for QFT is to understand the harmonic oscillator really in depth, covering the following points

(1) introduction of the annihilation and creation operators of "phonons" in solving the energy-eigenvalue problem for the simple harmonic oscillator
(2) understanding the formulation of the harmonic oscillator in terms of the Heisenberg picture
(3) the propagator of the harmonic oscillator
(4) not that important but helpful, if interested in quantum optics rather than QED in the HEP context: coherent states

Then it's not too difficult to also learn a bit about many-body quantum theory in the 2nd-quantization formalism mapping the (free) fields to an equivalent collection of independent harmonic oscillators.

As already Platon said, concerning math: There's no king's way, you have to learn it! Popular-science books on quantum (field) theory are usually not evern wrong caricatures of what the theory is all about. The best book coming close to a popular-science book but is still more on the serious textbook side is the QT volume of Suskinds "Theoretical Minimum" series.

ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus