Quantum Field Theory for the Gifted Amateur: Paperback: Tom Lancast
- Oxford University Press

We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more

Provides the curious amateur with a bridge from undergraduate physics to quantum field theory

Packed with worked examples, witty diagrams, and applications intended to introduce a new audience to this revolutionary theory

Mathematical steps clearly explained, providing careful help for those trying to learn the subject

A balance of particle physics and condensed matter applications makes the book accessible for all students, independent of background

Quantum field theory is arguably the most far-reaching and beautiful physical theory ever constructed, with aspects more stringently tested and verified to greater precision than any other theory in physics. Unfortunately, the subject has gained a notorious reputation for difficulty, with forbidding looking mathematics and a peculiar diagrammatic language described in an array of unforgiving, weighty textbooks aimed firmly at aspiring professionals. However, quantum field theory is too
important, too beautiful, and too engaging to be restricted to the professionals. This book on quantum field theory is designed to be different. It is written by experimental physicists and aims to provide the interested amateur with a bridge from undergraduate physics to quantum field theory. The imagined reader is a gifted amateur, possessing a curious and adaptable mind, looking to be told an entertaining and intellectually stimulating story, but who will not feel patronised if a few mathematical niceties are spelled out in detail. Using numerous worked examples, diagrams, and careful physically motivated explanations, this book will smooth the path towards understanding the radically
different and revolutionary view of the physical world that quantum field theory provides, and which all physicists should have the opportunity to experience.

Readership: Undergraduate and graduate physics students; professional physicists.

Tom Lancaster, Lecturer in Physics, Department of Physics, University of Durham, and Stephen J. Blundell, Professor of Physics, Department of Physics, University of Oxford

Tom Lancaster was a Research Fellow in Physics at the University of Oxford, before becoming a Lecturer at the University of Durham in 2012.

Stephen J. Blundell is a Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Mansfield College, Oxford.

"A treasury of contemporary material presented concisely and lucidly in a format that I can recommend for independent study ... I believe that this volume offers an attractive, new "rock and roll" approach, filling a large void in the spectrum of QFT books." - Johann Rafelski, CERN Courier

"The authors succeed remarkably in opening up the concepts of Quantum Field Theory to a broad, physically and mathematically trained readership. [...] The book is a valuable addition to the wide range of QFT books already available, and is suitable as self-study for the novice, as accompaniment for courses, and also as a valuable reference for
those already familiar with the subject." - Physik Journal

"This is a wonderful, and much needed book ... Why have the authors been so successful? It is the way the book has been structured. Each of the 50 chapters is short. Every chapter starts with a readable plan of what is to be explained and why; and finishes with a compact summary of the key ideas that have been covered. Moreover, the language is kept as simple as possible. The aim is always to be clear and difficult ideas are approached gently. The text is interspersed with a large number of detailed worked examples which are central to the story and which are arranged so as not to intimidate the reader ...
They have produced an accessible book that gives us a wonderful opportunity to understand QFT and its numerous applications" - Alan D. Martin, Contemporary Physics

"There is a need for a book on Quantum Field Theory that is not directed at specialists but, rather, sets out the concepts underlying this subject for a broader scientific audience and conveys joy in their beauty. Lancaster and Blundell have written with this goal in mind, and they have succeeded admirably." - Michael Peskin, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Stanford University.

"This wonderful and exciting book is optimal for physics graduate students. The authors are
brilliant educators who use worked examples, diagrams and mathematical hints placed in the margins to perfect their pedagogy and explain quantum field theory" - Barry R. Masters, Optics & Photonics News

Overture I: The Universe as a set of harmonic oscillators
1: Lagrangians
2: Simple harmonic oscillators
3: Occupation number representation
4: Making second quantization work II: Writing down Lagrangians
5: Continuous systems
6: A first stab at relativistic quantum mechanics
7: Examples of Lagrangians, or how to write down a theory III: The need for quantum fields
8: The passage of time
9: Quantum mechanical transformations
10: Symmetry
11: Canonical quantization of fields
12: Examples of canonical quantization
13: Fields with many components and massive electromagnetism
14: Gauge fields and gauge theory
15: Discrete transformations IV: Propagators and perturbations
16: Ways of doing quantum mechanics: propagators and Green's functions
17: Propagators and Fields
18: The S-matrix
19: Expanding the S-matrix: Feynman diagrams
20: Scattering theory V: Interlude: wisdom from statistical physics
21: Statistical physics: a crash course
22: The generating functional for fields VI: Path Integrals
23: Path Integrals: I said to him, "You're crazy"
24: Field Integrals
25: Statistical field theory
26: Broken symmetry
27: Coherent states
28: Grassmann numbers: coherent states and the path integral for fermions VII: Topological ideas
29: Topological objects
30: Topological field theory VIII: Renormalization: taming the infinite
31: Renormalization, quasiparticles and the Fermi surface
32: Renormalization: the problem and its solution
33: Renormalization in action: propagators and Feynman diagrams
34: The renormalization group
35: Ferromagnetism: a renormalization group tutorial IX: Putting a spin on QFT
36: The Dirac equation
37: How to transform a spinor
38: The quantum Dirac field
39: A rough guide to quantum electrodynamics
40: QED scattering: three famous cross sections
41: The renormalization of QED and two great results X: Some applications from the world of condensed matter
42: Superfluids
43: The many-body problem and the metal
44: Superconductors
45: The fractional quantum Hall fluid XI: Some applications from the world of particle physics
46: Non-abelian gauge theory
47: The Weinberg-Salam model
48: Majorana fermions
49: Magnetic monopoles
50: Instantons, tunnelling and the end of the world
Appendix A: Further reading
Appendix B: Useful complex analysis

The specification in this catalogue, including without limitation price, format, extent, number of illustrations, and month of publication, was as accurate as possible at the time the catalogue was compiled. Occasionally, due to the nature of some contractual restrictions, we are unable to ship a specific product to a particular territory. Jacket images are provisional and liable to change before publication.