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Quantum Field Theory of Point Particles and Strings (Frontiers in Physics) First Edition Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0201119824
ISBN-10: 020111982X
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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Brian Hatfield is co-founder and senior research physicist at AMP Research in Lexington, Massachusetts. He has help positions at the University of California, the University of Texas, and Harvard University. He received a Ph.D. in physics from Caltech.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Series: Frontiers in Physics (Book 75)
  • Hardcover: 734 pages
  • Publisher: Perseus Books; First Edition edition (January 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 020111982X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201119824
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,368,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is readable (you don't have to sit down with paper and pencil and work out a page of calculations to get from one line to the next, for most of the text)and it is clear (concepts are defined and explained). It is not really suitable as a first exposure to QFT for the reader would be better off with some familiarity with Feynman diagrams and relativistic quantum mechanics beforehand. With this background Hatfield's book is very valuable as a source for understanding the meaning behind QFT. Many other field theory texts seem to be concerned with little beyond the motions of handling the mechanical formalism and obtaining quantitative results to problems. This book instead gives the reader insight into field theory, does a good job at giving the big picture and stressing the transition from ordinary QM to the field aspect. Besides this, Hatfield's informal prose makes the book enjoyable to read. It has a fair share of typos throughout but most are quite easy to find. Compared to some of the popular field theory texts out there (P&S, Ryder) this one stands head and shoulders above.
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Format: Paperback
This is not a typical field theory book. From the very beginning the aim is to teach the reader all the concepts and methods which will be useful to learn string theory which form the last third of the book. Excellent examples of this can be found in the chapters on path integral and also in the chapter on Fadeev-Popov method. Almost all calculations are shown in step by step detail and it is very useful for the students who are learning field theory for the first time. The organization of the book is a little different from the usual mold of field theory books, but one can get use to it. One just has to realize that while most of the field theory books on the market (except for Weinberg's 3 volume text and one or two other) aim at teaching how to derive Feynman rules and how to calculate a few processes , this book by Hatfield is trying to take the "field theory book" audiance (who are usually phenomenology oriented) to a different playground "introduction to strings". This is an excellent book and a definite break from the old "B&D book 1 and 2" tradition and I would recommend it to both students and teachers (most of whom are still stuck in the old mode) alike. K. M. Maung Department of Physics Hampton University Hampton, Virginia 23668
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Format: Hardcover
I endorse most of what the reviewer below says except that Jasonc65 from Wilmington has forgotten that the derivative with respect to complex z=x+iy is d/dz=1/2(d/dx - i.d/dy) so that he should have got pi=half[i.phi(star)] by both methods - which is the right answer! Hatfield has simply got it wrong. Similarly,pi(star)=minus half(i.phi). For the correct treatment see Franz Gross "Relativistic Q.M. and Field Theory" chapter 7. And it's not the only error; simply "plugging (2.52) into an equation like (2.47)" clearly does not give (2.50) and (2.51) but gives an imaginary probability density and no i-factor in the spatial components.
Hatfield's treatment is not the step by step approach claimed but rather piecemeal and with a cavalier attitude to index house-keeping minus signs and factors of i and 1/2 etc. He is further let down by the typesetting of Perseus books that makes hardly any use of boldface characters, uses a point size for indices and suffixes not much smaller than the normal font and an almost typewriter-like character spacing in equations and formulae that make them sprawl across the page in a way less easy to scan than most other publisher's neatly grouped expressions.
For a step by step introduction that is clear, reasonably rigorous and more readable than Hatfield, I would strongly recommend Lewis Ryder's QFT book notwithstanding that it is mainly oriented towards the path integral formulation.
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Format: Paperback
This book promises to be a nice read for someone with minimal background. And many people with backgrounds in physics say it's an easy read. Maybe it is for them, but not for me. Now, I admit, I am a wannabe physicist. Most of my background is in pure mathematics and computer programming. However, I have recently taken up an interest in physics, and of all the sciences, I find that books in advanced physics are the most difficult to understand, in general. It has taken me many painful hours just to understand the Langrangian and the Hamiltonian, and just last week I finally mastered Noether's theorem. And by page 20 of this book, I'm exposed to the Lagrangian density, kind of a continuous extension of the notion of the Lagrangian. Well, generalizing from finitely many particles to a continuous field is not really that difficult. And I guess that is a very important insight in and of itself. But as I read the next 5 pages, I am absolutely dumbfounded by the stretch of rigor. I can't guess what rule they'll break next, as they assume that every calculation rule will carry over in their transition from one domain to another. In fact, as I write this review, I am still stuck pondering page 25, wondering how they justify every single step.
This is not the first time I've tried to read this book. I've had to frequently consult other books on mathematical physics before I could proceed any further. Now, I admit, that while my background in mathematics is thorough, I've never had a formal education in physics, and I'm trying as best as I can to read all the books on mathematical physics, quantum mechanics, QFT, QED, GR, etc. And I think I have the handle on the Hamiltonian, and how it is used in both classical and quantum mechanics.
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