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Quantum Electrodynamics: Volume 4: Course of Theoretical Physics Paperback – 1 Jan 1982

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'The treatment is thorough.. it is careful without being pedantic; and it is well supplied with applications to experimental situations...excellent value.'
Physics Bulletin

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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 7 reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Theory and applications presented with great skill 20 July 1998
By henrique fleming - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is an outstanding book. The former students of the great Russian physicist Lev Landau wrote a text based on his teaching and his papers, as well as on their own work. The result fits well in the magnificent Theoretical Physics course that carries the names of Landau and Lifshitz. There are differences between this text and the western analogues. Dirac equation is derived in a very elegant way using spinors, and the whole algebra of Dirac matrices becomes, in this way, much more natural, particularly, as one would expect, Lorentz invariance. The renormalization problem is treated in a very lucid way. The derivation of the Ward identities is very simple and amusing. High energy limits are treated in the Landau style, and well complements the more formal derivations based on the renormalization group. No book presents as many applications of quantum electrodynamics as this one, except perhaps, the old and dated book by Heitler.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction 28 Sept. 2003
By Dr. Lee D. Carlson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book gives a solid introduction to the simplest of gauge theories, that of the Abelian gauge field governing the interactions between photons and charged particles. The emphasis is on doing calculations, and so readers who need a more in-depth mathematical or "foundational" overview of quantum electrodynamics may be disappointed. Quantum field theory of course was not founded on the need for mathematical rigor in physics, but instead has its origins in reconciling quantum mechanics with the theory of special relativity. This reconciliation has sometimes been a rough road, and in many places employs some sophisticated but eccentric "trickery" on the part of the researchers. It is these tricks that are the most difficult to generalize, to the annoyance of mathematicians who want to put quantum field theory on a more rigorous mathematical foundation. But in spite of the use of these oddities quantum field theory is not magical, and has proven to be one of the most precise physical theories ever constructed.
Some of the highlights of the book:
1. The chapter on exact propogators and vertex parts is particularly illuminating, especially the discussions on Dyson's equation, Ward's identity, and the physical conditions needed for renormalization. Dyson's equation relates the vertex part to the exact propagator, and the authors derive it using two different approaches in the book: one using the concepts of reducible and irreducible diagrams, the other using direct calculation and taking the Fourier transform. Readers who go on in quantum field theory will find that this equation is usually called the Dyson-Schwinger equation and can be derived using "functional methods." Ward's identity is a relation that connects the momentum derivative of the electron propagator to the vertex part, but can derived solely by using gauge invariance. Applying a gauge transformation to the electron propagator will result in an expression involving an external (photon) field. This expression though has a contribution coming from photons with longitudinal components in their momentum, but the expression is shown to vanish. Hence, as expected, gauge invariance results in an electron propagator that does not involve massive photon fields, and its momentum derivatives are equal to the vertex part. The authors point out that this identity generalizes the expression for the case of the free-particle propagator.
2. The discussion on the radiative corrections to Coulomb's law, resulting from the "polarization of the vacuum" around a point charge. The corrections are done via the use of an "effective field", thus introducing the reader to a very common approach these days. After taking Fourier transforms the authors show that the polarization of the vacuum alters the Coulomb field in a region inversely proportional to the electron mass. Beyond this region the change drops off exponentially. The authors point out though that they have ignored the contributions of pions and muons in their calculation of the correction. At distances less than one over the muon (or pion) mass, the strong interaction must be taken into account and quantum electrodynamics breaks down.
3. The discussion on photon-photon scattering, which is a strictly quantum effect since it cannot occur in classical electrodynamics, due to the linearity of Maxwell's equations. It is the electron-positron annihilation which is responsible for this effect, and this is one example of the matter-antimatter duality that seems to always occur in quantum theories that must respect the principle of relativity (although, strictly speaking, another assumption, called "cluster decomposition" is needed to show this in a convincing way).
4. The (short) chapter on hadron electrodynamics, with "electromagnetic form factors" used to finesse the problem of the strong interaction. One thus gets a purely phenomonological theory, but one that still allows the calculation of electron-hadron and photon-hadron scattering.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ehh... 16 Feb. 2008
By T. Nicholas Kypreos - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a big fan of the Landau book on Classical mechanics, but this one doesn't come anywhere near the clarity presented in that text. The notation in the book is archaic and does not process well into other texts. I do, however, like the method he goes about presenting material -- it's just necessarily more difficult than it needs to be. I would recommend Srednicki or Peskin for more advanced texts, and Zee for an introductory text.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very physical book 14 Jan. 2006
By snowflake - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I mean a very physical book in the sense that it takes all the matters with the point of view of physical insight. The treatment of bosons and fermions is quick clear and it seems like a sleight of hand trick. The interaction of matter and radiation is one, perhaps old fashion, complete source of actual calculus difficult to obtain in other sources. Other topics about perturbative calculations and feynman diagrams is also very clear and straightforward to the mater itself. I recommend the book to all students in the graduate level, thougth a very russian style is a must for the great style lovers.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The second best L&L book 6 Dec. 2009
By C. Langmack - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are a fan of the L&L series and you are taking a particle physics and/or Quantum Field Theory coarse, then this is an excellent supplement. My opinion, the second best L&L book behind the Mechanics book.
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