- Series: Frontiers in Physics
- Hardcover: 864 pages
- Publisher: Westview Press; First Edition edition (October 2, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0201503972
- ISBN-13: 978-0201503975
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 74 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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An Introduction To Quantum Field Theory (Frontiers in Physics) First Edition Edition
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From the Back Cover
An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory is a textbook intended for the graduate physics course covering relativistic quantum mechanics, quantum electrodynamics, and Feynman diagrams. The authors make these subjects accessible through carefully worked examples illustrating the technical aspects of the subject, and intuitive explanations of what is going on behind the mathematics. After presenting the basics of quantum electrodynamics, the authors discuss the theory of renormalization and its relation to statistical mechanics, and introduce the renormalization group. This discussion sets the stage for a discussion of the physical principles that underlie the fundamental interactions of elementary particle physics and their description by gauge field theories.
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As for the contents, the book is organized in three parts. The first part treats QED, the second one RG-Theory, the third one Non-abelian Gauge-Theories (again focus directly on the Standard Model, the author later on induldges in a for me incomprehensible manner in QCD calculations)
I give this book two stars,for the following reasons:
Firstly, it is classic, i.e., the standard textbook everybody having to do with field theory has in his personal library.
Secondly, the RG part and parts of QED and Non-Abelian-Gauge Theories are written quite good, although a bit loose on showing steps.
Thirdly, the exercises included sometimes require terrificly long calculations (if no hints are given on how to effectively organize the calculations) - I attempted e.g. the QCD calculations on quark gluon scattering and gluon gluon scattering. For neither of the two I have finished them. After 20pp.of calculations for each and still being only half-way-through, I threw PS in exasperation against my room's wall. If this would be a single case, I would have accepted that but unfortunately it is not. I don't know whether the unevenness in quality and time-effort in the exercises is due to the American system, or not.
-There are better alternatives for learning QFT available. An outreaching book is QFT for the gifted amateur. Firstly,it treats QFT from the scratch on showing also applications of the formalism in condensed matter theory, secondly it is more explicit and thirdly exercises are doable (in a reasonable time).another book I found quite good is Kaku. Certainly, there are some errors in the equations, and sometimes the author is a bit sloppy on the math, but the exercises are extensive and in most cases illuminating. I remember doing the lattice gauge theory (I think it was that chapter) exercises during my statistical field theory course for fun. Again, an alterative is Schwartz - explicitness has found a name in there, although one might find oneself sometimes being lost in a calculation.
To sum up: For learning QFT I would now recommend the route Lancaster (QFT for the gifted amateur) -> Schwartz/Kaku (Exercises mostly from Kaku and the main text as a summary/review of results, Schwartz more for derivational details). Learning particle physics phenomology calculations can be done most effectively in my view by consulting Griffiths introduction to elementary particle physics or Aitchsinson/Hey. The solution manual, in case one gets stuck somewhere is really good (PS vs. Griffiths was recommended in a more experimentally oriented Advanced Particle Physics course at my university last year, when I took the course, and I wholeheartedly resorted to Griffiths after having taken part the term before in a QFT course, trying for six weeks to use PS).
I think this book is quite good for those who plan a phenomenology-career later on as "the" reference, but only for those.
You must read this book with pencil and paper in hand to get anything out of it. Sometimes a line or two in Peskin is three or four pages of manipulation. You have to work it out to learn the math skills to absorb the material. QFT is not a spectator sport.
Zee's book is a good introduction, I wished I had read it first but for the real thing in QFT you will need this book.
In conclusion, you'll probably wannt Peskin and Schroeder as a sort of 'hammer, saw and screwdriver' text (a carpenter's basic tools are hammers, saws and screwdrivers) but you'll need to go grab other tools every now and then.