UC Santa CruzUC Santa Cruz Department of Physics
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Physics 217 (Fall 2014): Introduction to Quantum Field Theory I

Course information

Lecture Time: Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00 PM -- 3:45 PM
Lecture Place: ISB, Room 231
Instructor: Prof. Stefano Profumo
Office hours: Wednesday 1:00 PM (or -- better -- 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 broadly based on the first 13 chapters of Matthew Schwartz's ``Quantum Field Theory and the Standard Model''.


Click here to download the Syllabus

Course outline


Recommended Textbook: Quantum Field Theory and the Standard Model by Schwartz (1 day reserve)

Other Reference Textbooks:

Grading policy

Grading will be based on weekly or bi-weekly homework exercises. Each homework will consist of typically a couple exercises on the material discussed in class, or on complements to that material. The homework problems will be posted on the course web page during the quarter. After attempting each problem by yourself, you are encouraged to discuss the problems with the Instructor and with each other.

One week after the homework is handed out, during the first half hour at the beginning of class 1-2 `` 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, and will be required to write full solutions to the problems in LaTeX by the following week. Grading will be given according to the quality of (i) the oral presentations, (ii) the timeliness and quality of the LaTeX-ed solutions (a LaTeX skeleton template is available here) and (iii) 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 producing a written account of what you learnt. Doing this effectively is a fundamental skill for your current and future research career. Presenting orally, in particular, both at the informal level of group meetings and at the more formal level of conference talks or job interviews is of crucial importance to the successful scholar. Interaction with those presenting their research is also a fundamental aspect of doing 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. Finally, writing up the solutions will help you familiarize with writing scientific-style papers and with the gymnastics related to learning to use LaTeX, and will help others by providing clearly written solutions and complements to the homework.

On the bright side, this course won't have any midterm or final exams. We are grown-ups now, after all!

Download here the LaTeX template for HW Solution Write-ups

Homework exercises

Set number Topics Due Date (in-class disc.) Due Date (written sol.)
1 (pdf) Relativistic kinematics + Lorentz Inv. October 13 October 20
2 (pdf) Yukawa Potential and Complex Scalar Field October 20 October 27
3 (pdf) Muon decay and Mandelstam variables October 29 November 3
4 (pdf) Practice with Feynman Diagrams November 5 November 12
5 (pdf) Photon Propagator and Compton Scattering in scalar QED November 12 November 19
6 (pdf) Some particle Dark Matter model building November 24 December 1
7 (pdf) Searching for the Higgs Boson at LEP December 5 December 12
8 [Final] (pdf) Proton Decay December 19

Homework Solutions

Set number Problem Number Solution (PDF) Author
1 1 pdf Max Baugh
1 2 pdf Joey Schindler
2 1 pdf Jacob Posner
2 2 pdf Cam McKeen
3 1 pdf Di Xu
3 2 pdf Chris Lee
4 1 pdf Noah Kent
5 1 pdf Di Xu
5 1 pdf Notes from "Field Quantization" by Greiner and Reinhardt [courtesy of Howard Haber]
5 2 pdf Nicolas Fernandez
7 pdf Nicolas Fernandez
8 [Final] pdf Yours Truly

Last reviewed 19/12/2014 by Stefano Profumo.