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Quantum Field Theory Demystified
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This isn't bad as far as it goes as has been pointed out by other reviewers. However I did find the fact that no real attempt was
made to calculate a scattering cross section rather irritating as this is the fundamental quantity used by particle physicists
to test their theories. All we get in the one concrete example of how the Feynman diagrams are used is a calculation of the
probability amplitude with no attempt to relate it to experimental data. I accept that a full derivation of the scatering cross
section formula and decay rate and how they relate to the probability amplitude is probably best left to an appendix.
Nevertheless it would have better if this book at least quoted the formula for the 2-> 2 scattering cross section in the centre
of mass frame (which is quite straight forward) and showed how you go from the probability amplitude to the scattering cross section.

Another severe lack is any mention of QCD which is a simpler gauge theory than the Weinberg Salam model and would have been good
as a chapter before the Weinberg Salam model.

So the neo-phyte looking for a quick introduction to quantum field theory will come away reading this book rather confused.
Better introductions to particle physics are Halzen and Martin or Aitchison and Hey. Although admittedly Halzen and Martin
is rather pricey.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 21 October 2008
I agree with the (so far) two other reviews to some extent, especially about the typos! And if you're looking for a deep insight into QFT and you are a recent graduate or have studied Quantum mechanics recently, then yes, there are many other better books. That said, for someone like me - starting an MSc after 20 years away from physics - I found it easier to understand at the most basic levels than other more advanced books where my eyes were glazing over by page 2 - and so this is bridging my gap quite well. Def buy other books, but don't pass on this one if you need the basics with a pinch of salt...and its cheap!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
When I was first trying to learn Quantum Field Theory (QFT), at the end of my college years and at the beginning of the graduate schools, the jump from the "regular" quantum mechanics seemed almost insurmountable. Even with a full year of graduate quantum mechanics, the kinds of concepts and calculations that are the staple of the QFT seemed beyond anything that I had encountered in Physics before. Unfortunately to this day there aren't many QFT textbooks that will give you the benefit of the doubt when first learning the subject. Most of them aim to be comprehensive, rather than pedagogical. Which is unfortunate because many more basic concepts and results are not beyond the ability of a more motivated undergraduate to grasp. In the light of that, I wish that David McMahon's book had been published earlier. There clearly is a need for book of this type, for both those who are interested in preparing themselves for a full-fledged course on QFT, as well for many practicing Physicist who could benefit from knowing the bare essentials of QFT for their own line of research (particle physicists, astrophysicists, etc.). As correctly pointed out by other reviewers, the book has its flaws. The ones that I find particularly prominent are 1. Many mistakes, 2. It can be conceptually fuzzy and less than accurate when it comes to some key concepts. 3. Non-inclusion of non-relativistic QFT (important for condensed matter applications) 4. Inclusion of Supersymmetry, which is a non-standard topic for most textbooks, and not even a verified concept, and 5. Poor typesetting. However, even with those flaws, the book is an important text for everyone who is interested in learning about QFT on their own for the first time. But it is not meant for everyone: one year of college-level quantum mechanics and familiarity with the modern tensor notation would be the minimal requirement s for taking a fool advantage of this book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 10 November 2009
On the whole, this isn't a bad introduction to QFT. Let's start with the positives: the motivation of second quantisation was good, so there was a decent physical motivation for moving from quantising position and momentum to quantising fields. Also, the treatment of spontaneous symmetry breaking was quite elegant, and the derivation of the Weinberg-Salaam model relatively elementary (compare with the cursory explanation in Kaku's book).

Now what's not so good. First, there are a fair few typos. I managed okay because I know a reasonable amount about QFT anyway, but for a beginner this could be deadly. Second, the book never really gets to grip with gauge symmetries. The treatment of U(1) symmetry in QED is barely acceptable, and the treatment of non-abelian groups is notable mainly by its absence. In general the book shies away from group theory.

The key weakness is this. The book introduces second quantisation and then takes the usual step from the Heisenberg picture to the Interaction picture. And it seems to be getting ready to introduce propogators and show how to derive Feynman rules. But it doesn't: it gets to the point where it could do this and then changes tack entirely, introducing Feynman diagrams and making it seem as if the rules come from the diagrams rather than vice versa. Hence a key part of QFT is lost, meaning that readers are left thinking that the diagrams are fundamental rather than being aids to computation.

I also think the author lost a lot by not introducing the path integral formalism earlier. It's very intuitive, and it makes derivation of the Feynman rules pretty well trivial.

Oh yes, and there is next to nothing on renormalisation. Now, you wouldn't expect to get a detailed discussion in an elementary book, but at least some discussion of how coupling constants depend on energy scale is essential.

So, good, but not too good. For an absolute beginner, I'd recommend Zee's book, and for the more advanced reader, why not Weinberg?
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 16 October 2008
This book shares with the other books in the series in one respect. Each advertises itself as suitable for anyone to master the basics without formal training.

Few books could achieve introducing "anyone" to tensor notation on p7! This aside, the whole approach of this book is woolly. It is difficult to see at any time where we are going or whether we have gotten there. The notations used make for obfuscation of the theory rather than demystification. Why not use the notations a pure maths undergraduate would understand if you want to "demystify", then throw in those a physicist would use later? The latter only add to the mystery of half-understood mathematics.

As an illustration of how difficult to follow this book is, on p4 we are promised that fields are to be made into operators, and the Schrodinger probability density function is to become a field. Also, position and time are no longer operators but (classical) scalars. On p118 we are about to achieve this, and this aim is stated twice for emphasis. OK, we are all ready, but wait! the author takes us back to the harmonic oscillator and produces a creation and annihilation operator out of a hat, without any explanation of why.

On p122 the mechanism of second quantization is given, without emphasis, mid-page and mid-paragraph, by taking the Fourier transform of a preceding formula. The poor reader who looks up Fourier transforms in the index will find the only reference to be...p122.

Most mathematicians would fail to understand most of this book. Mr Anyone on the back cover is going to be entirely at sea.
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on 28 December 2011
I found it extremely hard to rate this book, but in the end, I felt it's worth four stars -- *provided* it's used in conjunction with other QFT textbooks.

The bad: (A) some of the equations are garbled (I'm going on the kindle edition which I've read using a kindle app -- not bad, but I wish they'd scan the equations at a higher resolution) and contain some errors. (B) Strange, obscure overall logic to the book. The logic between the chapters is unclear at times...a new topic or approach will be suddenly introduced and it's not clear how or whether it's meant to follow from what's gone before; (C) No calculation of cross sections and empirical evidence.

On the other hand, there's the good: (A) it's very helpful to the self-teacher (like myself) to see certain fairly elementary proofs and arguments filled out in detail, rather than being left as exercise. (B) Most chapters are, in and of themselves, pretty clear and fairly well explained. There will be times when one thinks -- what's going on?? what do these equations mean?? WTF!?!?! -- but that's in the nature of the subject, and whereas I had got hopelessly stuck in other books, I never really did with this one. (C) I got an insight into certain areas of QFT I simply hadn't managed with other, more detailed, books, and when I returned to these books, this helped me overcome some of those blocks.

In the end, I felt that those good points were significant enough to make this book worth 4 stars. It shouldn't be the only book you learn QFT from, but it played a unique and very helpful role my learning and -- at the price -- it's got to be worth it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 January 2010
Most demystified series book are excellent in general, in terms of the course design and the way concepts are presented. I see negative comments on this book, but I find the book really good. This book helped me learn not only quantum field theory but also supplemented my other course, Particle Physics. Quantum Field Theory, without a doubt, is one of the most difficult subjects in theoretical physics and this book makes things really easy. It is an extra-ordinary textbook. If you are new to the area of quantum field theory and have exams and do not have much time, grab this book, and in less than 2 weeks you will be field confident about your exams!! Trust me, this is with my own experience!
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 10 June 2008
This book is full of errors and bad explanations. The author says in the preface that many books on quantum field theory are impossible to read. It's a shame that this one is just one more of that kind!
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