Ann E Nelson
Emphasizes either relativistic quantum field theory or the many-body problem. Normally offered credit/no-credit only. Prerequisite: PHYS 522.
The intent is to enable interested students to obtain the necessary knowledge to start theoretical research in particle physics, nuclear physics, or condensed matter physics. Most theory students will find the material indispensible, and experimental students who wish to understand theory (and great experimentalists almost always have a deep understanding of theory) should also find this material useful. The emphasis this quarter will be on renormalization. When first introduced, and for many years thereafter, renormalization was thought to be an somewhat mysterious and ad hoc procedure for avoiding infinities, however it is now understood that renormalization is at the very heart of quantum field theory and essential for understanding both the fundamental principles and observable consequences.
Student learning goals
introduction to the conceptual basis of Quantum field theory
why special relativity plus quantum mechanics implies identical particles, antiparticles
compute simple Feynman diagrams for scattering processes and compute cross sections, decay widths
introduction to symmetry
introduction to spin and statistics
introduction to renormalization and the renormalization group
General method of instruction
lecture, problem sets
advanced familiarity with quantum mechanics and special relativity, familiarity with electromagnetic fields. A previous graduate course in electricity and magnetism and in quantum mechanics should suffice.
Class assignments and grading
8 problem sets
adequate completion of all problem sets required for credit