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An Introduction To Quantum Field Theory (Frontiers in Physics) First Edition Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0201503975
ISBN-10: 0201503972
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Editorial Reviews

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.

About the Author

Michael E. Peskin received his doctorate in physics from Cornell University and has held research appointments in theoretical physics at Harvard, Cornell, and CEN Saclay. In 1982, he joined the staff of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, where he is now Professor of Physics. Daniel V. Schroeder received his doctorate in physics from Stanford University in 1990. He held visiting appointments at Pomona College before joining the faculty of Weber State University, where he is now Associate Professor of Physics. Michael E. Peskin received his doctorate in physics from Cornell University and has held research appointments in theoretical physics at Harvard, Cornell, and CEN Saclay. In 1982, he joined the staff of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, where he is now Professor of Physics. Daniel V. Schroeder received his doctorate in physics from Stanford University in 1990. He held visiting appointments at Pomona College before joining the faculty of Weber State University, where he is now Associate Professor of Physics.
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Product Details

  • 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: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a difficult book to review. That a detailed study of several textbooks is needed for a thorough introduction to QFT is a well-known maxim among students of the subject. Every QFT text excels in some areas and struggles in others, and Peskin and Schroeder's book (P&S) is no exception. P&S chooses to emphasize performing calculations in the Standard Model (SM), and the chapters pertaining to this topic are excellent. Chapters 5 and 6, covering tree and one-loop calculations in QED, are invaluable, as are chapters 20 and 21, which detail the electroweak theory.
Several of the formal aspects of QFT are shunted in P&S, as must something be neglected in every QFT text that is stable against gravitational collapse. The general representation theory of the Lorentz group is the most glaring omission in P&S. Chapter 1 of Ramond's "Field Theory: A Modern Primer" treats this topic quite well. The LSZ reduction formulae are derived and discussed more clearly in Pokorski's "Gauge Field Theories", as are BRST symmetry and free field theory. For those interested in undertaking detailed phenomenological studies of the SM or some extension thereof, Vernon Barger's "Collider Physics" is also recommended.
Despite its shortcomings, P&S remains the best QFT reference currently available. It's the book I turn to first when confronted in research papers with field theoretic puzzle that I just can't crack. If you buy only one QFT text, buy P&S.
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Format: Hardcover
The main problem of this book: what exactly is it supposed to be?

If it is an introduction, then the opening chapters are written at a level too sophisticated that an average first-time student can't handle.

If it aims to be a "bible" of the subject, then the later chapters are far too technical, loaded with only Feynman diagram calculations for standard model. Not being a phenomenologist, I personally have very little interest in all the technical detail, and apparently several other reviewers share my view here.

Now let me gives some examples to support my claim.

First, C, P and T symmetries are introduced very early on (right after Dirac spinor), and in a very formal way. Yes, they logically belong there, but in an "introduction" of the subject you don't throw out an isolated topic like this which you don't make use of in the following few hundred pages.

The part on cannonical quantization is written at a very fast pace. A complex scalar field is probably the first model you can construct with charged particles. And guess what kind of treatment it receives in this book? Not a single word in the main text. The problem 2 of that chapter essentially asks you to work out the content of this model with few hints given. If you have troble working it out, which is not uncommon for a first-timer, then you won't see the logic behind the decomposition of a complex Dirac field either. This is done in the following chapter, with no explaination.

Like the charged scalar field example, some important pieces of knowledge are hidden only in the exercises.
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Format: Hardcover
I worked through the most of this book in explicit detail (the only way to get the full benefit, in my humble opinion), and, while it was very good at teaching the methods for deriving and computing Feynman diagrams, it often sacrifices pedagogy for explicit calculation. For instance, while there is a brief discussion of representations of the Lorentz group, the book gives no indication of how to construct and work with fields of higher spin. Also, I found their discussion of the LSZ reduction formulae rather impenetrable. (Their discussion of BRST symmetry, in contrast, is very readable and easily understood.) So, while I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn to do calculations in quantum field theory, it is imperative that they supplement this book with other sources that treat important topics, like the CPT theorem, general representation theory, and non-perturbative phenomena (which are barely mentioned here), in detail. (Also, there are a rather large number of unfortunate typos in the first edition...)
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Format: Hardcover
The authors give an excellent overview of the physical concepts and computational aspects of quantum field theory. They stress the situation behind the subject, and endeavor to remain as concrete as possible. Abstract mathematical constructions are left to more advanced texts in quantum field theory. The authors characterize their book as an updating of the two volume set of Bjorken and Drell.
The main emphasis of the book is on quantum electrodynamics (QED), the most successful of quantum field theories. The representation and analysis of the physical processes of QED is done via Feynman diagrams, with electron-positron annihilation leading off the discussion. Recognizing that the exact expression for the amplitude of this process is not known, perturbation theory is used to give an approximate representation for it via an infinite series with each term involving successively higher powers of the strength of the coupling between the electrons and photons (i.e. the charge). Each term is represented as a Feynman diagram. This is followed by a discussion of the quantum field theory of the Klein-Gordon field. The authors give one of the best explanations in the literature of why one must deal with the quantization of fields and not particles, the most important one being causality. Canoncial quantization is employed and the Feynman propagator for the Klein-Gordon field is derived. The Dirac field is also quantized using the canonical formalism. The authors show that Klein-Gordon fields obey Bose-Einstein statistics and Dirac fields obey Fermi-Dirac statistics. The all-important Wick's theorem is proven and higher-order Feynman diagrams are discussed. Most importantly, the authors show how to connect these results to experiment via the calculation of cross sections and decay rates.
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