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What should I read after QED?

  1. Feb 2, 2013 #1
    I just finished reading QED and now I want to learn the science behind what Feynman talks about. In the introduction by A. Zee, he mentions his book "Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell", saying that it is the next step for someone interested in learning more. I went to a bookstore, looked at the first chapter, and realized that it was above my level. What books would be good for me? For reference, I've taken an intro to mechanics and electromagnetism along with the entire calculus course progression, (I can deal with the math in most books, it's the science I need to learn). I hope this is the right place to be asking this!
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  3. Feb 2, 2013 #2
    Well, you'll want to do quantum mechanics before tackling quantum field theory. I liked "Introduction to Quantum Mechanics" by David Griffiths. You can take a look at the textbook section (https://www.physicsforums.com/forumdisplay.php?f=224 [Broken]) to see some other possibilities and what PF members think of them. After QM, you will need to learn electromagnetism at a more advanced level as a classical field theory. Recommending a book for this is not so easy. Griffiths' EM book, which I also like, introduces it towards the end, which makes for a start at least.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  4. Feb 3, 2013 #3


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    After studying QED and it's perturbative treatment I would continue with non-abelian gauge theory, especially QCD, and non-perturbative phenomena.
  5. Feb 3, 2013 #4


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    I can only agree that you first should study non-relativistic quantum mechanics, before you go over to relativistic quantum field theory. You need to learn the concepts of quantum mechanics. The math is not so difficult. If you mastered classical electromagnetism, you are well prepared for the beginning of a quantum-mechanics course, using the wave-mechanics approach, which I think still is the best way to introduce quantum mechanics.

    The problem with learning (and also teaching!) quantum theory is that it requires to rethink the whole picture about nature completely. Against this the already unusual features about relativistic space-time, which is more about physics in general, including classical (i.e., non-quantum) physics, is easy.

    I don't know the book by Griffiths, but what I know from his writings in Am. J. Physics (if this is the same Griffiths ;-)), I guess he must write good textbooks.

    My favorite for beginners is J. J. Sakurai's Modern Quantum mechanics, followed by S. Weinberg's brand-new book. Then one should also have a look at either Ballentine's book or his Review of Modern Physics article on the Minimal Statistical Representation.

    For those, interested in the foundational problems of quantum mechanics, I recommend the very "down-to-earth" and carefully written book by A. Peres, Quantum Theory: Concepts and Methods.

    The latter is not necessary, however, for quantum field theory. There are many good books on the market. Zee's book for sure is not among them, I'm sorry to say. On an introductory level, I'd rather recommend Srednicky, Ryder, or Peskin&Schroeder. The best books on the subject are Weinbergs three volumes "The quantum theory of fields".
  6. Feb 3, 2013 #5
    Great! Thanks everyone for your responses, this should be enough for me to start on.
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