UC Santa CruzUC Santa Cruz Department of Physics
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Physics 217 (Fall 2009): Introduction to Quantum Field Theory I

Course information

Lecture Time: Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00-3:45 PM
Lecture Place: ISB, Room 231
Instructor: Prof. Stefano Profumo
Office hours: Wednesdays 4:00-5:00 PM (or by appointment)

Course description

This course is the first quarter of a 2-quarter graduate-level introduction to relativistic quantum field theory (QFT). The focus is on introducing QFT and on learning the theoretical background and computational tools to carry out elementary QFT calculations, with a few examples from tree-level quantum electrodynamics processes. The course will be mostly based on the first 5 chapters of the Peskin and Schroeder book.


Click here to download the Syllabus

Course outline

The detailed schedule includes the outline of topics for each lecture.


Required Textbook: An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory by Peskin and Schroeder (1 day reserve)

Reference Textbooks:

Grading policy

Grading will be based on 4/5 homework exercises. Each homework will consist of typically 2 exercises on the material discussed in class, or on complements to that material. The homeworks will be posted on the course web page during the quarter. One week after the homework is handed out, during the first half hour at the beginning of class two ''volunteers'' will either spontaneously step forward or (in the absence of volunteers) will be drafted by the Instructor to solve the assigned problems, or to sketch the solution, on the blackboard. Volunteers will rotate throughout the class participants. Grading will be given according to the quality of both these oral presentations and the interaction/suggestions given to the volunteer when one is not at the blackboard (i.e. participation will be an important component).

The idea behind this homework and grading policy is to familiarize you with presenting orally your work, and in particular your research: doing this effectively is a fundamental skill and component to any research activity, both at the informal level of group meetings and at the more formal level of conference talks or job interviews. Interaction with those presenting their research is also a fundamental aspect of successful research. Further, this will give everybody an opportunity to discuss and re-think the assigned homework material, and to try to conceptualize and digest it in order to present it to others.

Homework exercises

Set number Topics Due Date
1 (pdf) - Klein-Gordon Field - - Monday, October 12 -
1 (pdf) - Dirac Field - - Monday, October 26 -
1 (pdf) - Cross Sections and Decay Rates - - Monday, November 16 -
1 (pdf) - QED Processes - - Wednesday, December 2 -

Last reviewed 06/03/2009 by Stefano Profumo.