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Physics: Phy 341

PHY 341: Quantum Field Theory I

This is an introduction to quantum field theory. Quantum field theory is an indispensable tool for the study particle, nuclear and condensed matter physics and has applications to an even broader range of physical systems. The goal of this course is to introduce the basic concepts of quantum field theory . Students will learn the techniques for doing perturbative calculations of elementary processes in QED and other simple field theories. We also expect to discuss gauge invariance, path integrals, symmetries and renormalization. Though most examples will be drawn from particle physics, I will also include applications from other areas of physics.

General Information

Prerequisites: PHY 211, 212 and 315.
Class Schedule:
  • Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:50 - 5:05 pm
  • Location: Room 233A, Physics and Mathematics building.
  • Final Exam Date and Time: Thursday, April 29, 9 am-12 pm.
  • Website: http://www.phy.duke.edu/~mehen/341/
Instructor: Thomas Mehen
  • Office: Room 204-C, Physics and Mathematics Building
  • Phone: 660-2555
  • Email: mehen@phy.duke.edu
  • Office Hours: Wednesday 1-2 pm, Friday 1-2 pm, or by appointment
  • M. Peskin and D. Schroeder, An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory
Teaching Assistants:
Grading Policy
    There will be weekly problem sets and a final exam.
    Grades will be assigned according to the following weighted average:
    Problem Sets: 60%
    Final exam: 40%
Recommended Reading:
Some other quantum field theory textbooks which you may find useful are listed below.
  • F. Mandl and Shaw, G. Quantum Field Theory. Peskin and Schroeder call this the easiest book on field theory so it maybe a good place to get help if you are stuck.
  • L. Ryder, Quantum Field Theory. An elementary discussion with some advanced topics included.
  • S. Weinberg, The Quantum Theory of Fields, Vols. I-II. We will be covering mostly material in Vol. I. These are excellent books which emphasize the modern viewpoint of effective field theory. The notation is quite nonstandard.
  • C. Itsykson and J.-B. Zuber, Quantum Field Theory. This book is a classic with an extremely thorough treatment of QED. This will serve as an extremely useful reference.
  • A link to the problem sets is at the bottom of this webpage. Problem Sets will be assigned every Thursday and are due the following Thursday. Solutions will be posted shortly thereafter.
  • No Late Problem Sets will be accepted!
  • You are encouraged to discuss the homework assignments with fellow students so that you can learn the subject from each other. However, the written part of the homework assignments must be done individually.
  • Course webpage as well as email will be used to disseminate information on problem set corrections, class schedule emergencies, etc.


  • Classical Field Theory
  • Symmetries and Conservation Laws
  • Representations of the Lorentz Group
  • Canonical Quantization
  • Feynman diagrams, Perturbation Theory
  • Path Integrals
  • Elementary Quantum Electrodynamics
  • Radiative Corrections
  • Renormalization

Homework Assignments

Problem Sets

Updated: Dec-22-2003 | Contact: webmaster | Printable version
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