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The Quantum Theory of Fields (Volume 1) Hardcover – June 30, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-0521550017 ISBN-10: 0521550017 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews


"The [physics] community will not be disappointed....Volume 1 is six hundred pages of meticulous exposition of the fundamentals of the subject....In addition to a superb treatment of all the conventional topics there are numerous sections covering areas that are not normally emphasized, such as the subject of field redefinitions, higher-rank tensor fields and an unusually clear and thorough treatment of infrared effects....This latest book reinforces [Weinberg's] high scholarly standards. It provides a unique exposition that will prove invaluable both to new research students as well as to experienced research workers....this will become a classic text on a subject of central importance to a wide area of theoretical physics." Michael B. Green, CERN Courier

"...for over 20 years there has been no good modern textbook on [quantum field theory]. For all that time, Steven Weinberg has been promising to write one. That he has finally done cause for celebration among those who try to teach and try to learn the subject. Weinberg's book is for serious students of field theory....[I]t is the first textbook to treat quantum field theory the way it is used by physicists today." Howard Georgi, Science

"...provides an impressively lucid and thorough presentation of the subject from this modern viewpoint....Weinberg manages to present difficult topics with richness of meaning and marvellous clarity. Full of valuable insights, his treatise is sure to become a classic..." Nature

"...a self-contained, comprehensive introduction to quantum field theory." Book News, Inc.

"...beautifully produced and meticulously edited...and it is a real bargain in price. If you want to learn quantum field theory, or have already learned it and want to have a definitive reference at hand, purchase this book." O.W. Greenberg, Physics Today

"I would recommend it to students who have completed a first course in field theory and hope that many of my colleagues will read it as well. Weinberg leads us to a frontier rich in possibilities. This is an optimistic book, written with much respect for ideas and nature--and for tools." Chris Quigg, Science

Book Description

Available for the first time in paperback, The Quantum Theory of Fields is a self-contained, comprehensive, and up-to-date introduction to quantum field theory from Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg. Volume I introduces the foundations of quantum field theory.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 635 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (June 30, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521550017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521550017
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.4 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #723,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Weinberg's writing style is remarkably clear.
Chris West
In his book Weinberg is sort of recombining the best of Bjorken/Drell and Peskin/Schroeder and brings understanding to a new level.
Oliver Lass
His approach is refreshing and insightful, the treatment is thorough and satisfyingly complete.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Derek Lee on September 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover
For those who are receptive to its charms, this book is simply indispensible to any high energy physicist. This book is not terribly "intuitive"(in the sense that things are derived heuristically just to the point that the result seeems plausible), nor does it take a purely mathematical standpoint, emphasizing the unbending rigour of all proofs. Instead, it offers something far, far more valuable to any physicist; namely it offers truly profound physical insight into the fundamental principles of nature. This book is so chock full of brilliant profound ideas that it seems as if Weinberg put into this book almost all of the insights he has had over the course of his long, productive, and Nobel Prize winning career. He offers a truly logical presentation of particle physics, starting from the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics (superposition principle especially) and the principle of invariance under the Poincare group modulo time and spatial inversion, as well as the principle that distant measurements do not affect each other, and derives, with a minimum of simplifying assumption, the whole, wonderful edifice of quantum field theory. This set of volumes contains almost all that we know about QFT, but somehow, magically, it is not encyclopedic; it is instead refreshingly original and, as I have said before, truly profound. Also, unlike many other QFT texts, it very clearly points out how the assumptions of the theory could be weakened, and also gives an indication of what sorts of theories come from these modified assumptions. The whole book is simply fascinating, but I found the chapter on general renormalization theory particularly enlightening, especially the section on "nonrenormlizable" theories.Read more ›
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A. Potter on July 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
To put the review in perspective, My Background: I am a senior undergraduate engineering/physics student with an interest in mathematics and theoretical physics. This is my third QFT book.

Things I liked about the book:
- The book follows a very logical progression. I love how Weinberg presents a coherent argument based on simple physical principles (specifically Lorentz invariance and the cluster decomposition principle).
- Weinberg takes painstaking effort to avoid hand-waving, and is very careful to enumerate (and make plausible) his assumptions. In so doing, he avoids the sort of black-magic feeling I got when reading some less well written QFT books (see for example: Peskin and Schroeder, which makes a mockery of logical progression in an effort to teach you how to calculate as soon as possible).
- The book was very thorough, and often provided an original approach to the material. The coverage of renormalization seemed natural and coherent, and since the book is presented in a logical order (rather than a historical one) Weinberg avoids justifying renormalization as some mysterious subtraction of infinities, basing it instead on general non-perterbative methods (e.g. poles of the S-matrix, etc...)

What I didn't like about the book:
- As a result of his unwavering emphasis on logical progression, and his inclusion of a vast amount of material (almost all of which is necessary to understand in order to progress through the book), the book is somewhat painful to get through. Be prepared to re-read many of the sections a couple of times, and to make very slow progress.
- Weinberg chooses to present QFT in a very general form (i.e. abstracting it from a particular field such as particle physics or condensed matter physics).
Read more ›
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I like this book because it explains everything from first principles to the most advanced results, and this is really the best way to master such a subject. Moreover, Weinberg managed to give full proofs of all intermediate steps using only maths available to the average physicist. I don't think it is a pedagogic text, like e.g. Peskin-Schroeder, it is too demanding at some places (however the most advanced sections that can be skipped at first reading are indicated by footnotes). Paradoxically, this can make the reader's task easier because he/she gets better equipped to tackle the difficult problems, and the systematic development does not tolerate any hiatus. The contrast is in the generality and completeness: Peskin-Schroeder discuss the representations of Lorentz group only in the context of spin 1/2. Weinberg discusses them in full generality. P-S do not explain canonical quantisation of the EM field; Weinberg explains it for any kind of field. On the other hand, the first QED process computation (Compton scattering) only appears at page 362 (page 131 in Peskin-Schroeder), and it appears as a unique example, while Peskin-Schroeder teaches you how to compute any known process. So this book is more focussed on the inner working and motivations or foundations of the theory than Peskin-Schroeder or other similar books, which have applications to particle physics in mind.
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49 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Wolfgang Zernik on December 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Let me start by stating the essentials:
1. If you are a grad student in theoretical physics or you already have your Ph.D, buy this book! If you are an amateur trying to figure out how the universe works this book will simply break your heart because you will understant none of it.
2. The book is beautifully printed by Cambridge University Press. You don't see this sort of quality often these days, when the European-style el cheapo paper back has become the norm.
3. It is an expensive book, but Amazon has some bargain re-sellers. I bought my copy at a substantial discount. It was supposedly second-hand but had obviously never even been breathed on. And it got here in two days.
4. This is a book mainly about formalism and mathematics. If you get about half-way through you will eventually reach some discussion of experimental results but this is not the emphasis here.
5. Finally, on a personal note. I am a retired theoretical physicist and about forty years ago I even wrote a paper on quantum electrodynamics. So I thought that maybe I could attempt to read this book. I know the words, Hermitian operators, Lorentz transformations, stuff like that. Yet I'm having a very hard time getting through it. After about a month of trying I'm about to give up. I can read chapters 1 and most of 2, but after that it becomes too hard for me. One problem is that it is not often explained what the point of all that complicated mathematics really is. It certainly does not give me a better understanding of the physical world although I suppose it would do that if I persevered long enough. That's why I gave it only 4 stars.
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