- Paperback: 441 pages
- Publisher: Springer; 1st ed 1996. 2nd printing 1997 edition (May 23, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 3540780483
- ISBN-13: 978-3540780489
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,365,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Field Quantization 1st ed 1996. 2nd printing 1997 Edition
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...The book under review is an excellent addition to the vast educational literature on quantum field theory. This is a clearly presented and detailed introduction to various techniques of field quantization, illustrated with applications to a number of special physical models. ... The book is intended for undergraduate students and all other beginners in the area of quantum field theory. With its --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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I did not have any problem with the margins, and in fact wrote quite a lot of notes in the large outer margins. Chapter 11 is missing its first page which at first caused me to think 10+ pages were gone because it substituted page 350 for page 337.
Because I don't have time to memorize things, I found myself going back through the book to look for definitions. Everything is well defined before it is used. When ever I ran into a symbol I forgot the meaning of, I could always find it earlier in the book. This is good proof to me the author was careful about how ideas are introduced and combined.
There were only a couple of places where I could not follow a derivation by writing down every step at the time I read the passage. But returning to that place again after finishing the chapter I could finish filling in the steps.
Given the price of most quantum field theory books, this is definitely worth getting just to help with a different point of view on a difficult subject.
The text is organized very well. The main subject matter is quantum field theory, but this subject is developed through physical examples; uniformly weighted HO chain, Schrodinger wave function, Klein-Gordon field, Dirac field, Mawell field, and then on in to second-quantizations of these. It's a sort of step-by-step process that builds a great basis in the mechanics of field theory with increasingly more complicated examples. It's a great structure.
However, the math is really sloppy. I don't really expect pure mathematical rigor from a physics book (no one should), but the book uses ideas that aren't well-defined; e.g. A functional derivative of a functional of a functional. That is, dF[G[f(x)]]/df(x). Some of the math isn't very well-motivated, either. Maybe it's just the nature of quantum field theory, but a lot of the explanations seem really magical; we do this because it makes the answers work, and that's that. There's a lot of ordering conventions (at least two) that are supposed to make "explicit" infinities disappear (which they're still there) and the only motivation for them is to avoid infinities. At some point, it becomes more a kind of hieroglyphics with a particular grammar, as opposed to a field of mathematics. Again, that may be the nature of QED, but the lack of mathematical rigor or meaning is very apparent from the way math is handled in the book.
While the math is sloppy, the physics isn't. The physical meaning of the equations is the important issue to the authors of the book, afterall, and it is explained very well. The organizational structure helps very much to build up to the advanced subjects of interacting photon and electron fields in a relativistic framework. Reference is made to classical mechanics and to "classical" quantum mechanics, and from there establishes a relativistic picture. It is very straightforward and confusion is minimal.
Sometimes, I felt there was a lack of clarification in some things. Only things like skipped steps or poor motivations, or maybe translational ambiguities. Some statements were not as self-evident as they seemed to the authors. This was not enough to obscure the subject, whose results are still clearly presented.
The price is another factor to consider. It's somewhere around ~$20, and delivers a LOT of book for that itsy bitsy price. I felt a deep joy in being assigned a textbook that cost me less than dinner out, and delivered an approachable wealth of knowledge on a very advanced subject. I'd recommend grad students or PhDs interested in field theory buy it. It's a great way to get your feet on the ground in the subject.
Given how low the price, this might seem attractive for self-study or as a supplementary reference work. If you like owning your own reference books, this would be a good one to get. If you're taking a more advanced course on QED and find yourself stuck, this might bring the subject on a more intuitive level to get you started. As to self-study, I don't know how useful this would be. There aren't a lot of problems, which is essential to self-study.
Overall, I give the book 4 stars. I can't entirely blame it for the sloppiness of the math, and it doesn't pretend to be a math text, but the math is really sloppy. The price, though, more than makes up for poor form in mathematics, especially for those more concerned with the big physical picture and not the formal minutiae.
After writing the above review, I read some of the others and noticed they complain about the margins. To be perfectly honest, I never even noticed there was anything fishy about the margins. There's a lot of space on the outside of the pages, but I assumed that was for notes. I went back and looked at my book, and sure enough the text runs right to where the seams meet. Everything is still legible, and as I said, I used this book a whole semester and never noticed; but if it will bother you, maybe another printing? The text itself, regardless of printing issues, is fantastic, and I didn't find the printing issues even noticeable.
Regarding the content, it's a great book. If you have access (through your library, for instance) to other references as Mandl & Shaw and Peskin & Schroeder, I'd suggest you buy this one. I believe other people have written very accurate reviews on the content. Everything else (delivery, packaging) was simply perfect.