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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Ann E Nelson
PHYS 570
Seattle Campus

Quantum Field Theory

Emphasizes either relativistic quantum field theory or the many-body problem. Normally offered credit/no-credit only. Prerequisite: PHYS 522.

Class description

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

Recommended preparation

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


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Ann E Nelson
Date: 09/25/2012