Phys 232A: Quantum Field Theory I
Fall 2018
shortcut to Homework Assignments
Basic Info
Lectures:
Time: Tue and Thu, 9:4011:00am.
Place: 325 Le Conte Hall.
Discussion sessions:
Time: Tue and Thu, 23pm.
Place: 402 Le Conte Hall.
(The exact time and location of the Discussions may still be tweaked a bit, we are tring to optimize the timing so that the largest possible number of students can participate regularly in our Discussions.)
Lecturer:
Petr Hořava
(email: horava@berkeley.edu)
Office: 401 Le Conte Hall.
Office hours: Thursdays 12pm.
GSI:
Stephen Randall.
Office: 420B Le Conte Hall.
Office hours: TBD.
Quantum field theory (QFT) and, more generally, manybody theory, represents
the leading paradigm in modern theoretical physics, and an absolutely
essential ingredient in our current understanding of the Universe on
an astonishingly diverse range of scales. The basic ideas and techniques
of QFT are at the core of our understanding of highenergy particle physics
and cosmology, as well as phenomena in condensed matter, statistical
mechanics, and even finance. QFT also naturally leads to its logical
extension  string theory  which in turn provides a unified framework for
reconciling the quantum paradigm with the other leading paradigm of the 20th
century physics: that of general relativity, in wich gravity is understood as
the geometry of spacetime.
At the core of the modern understanding of QFT is the socalled Wilsonian
framework: A way of understanding how interacting systems with many degrees
of freedom reorganize themselves as we change the scale at which we observe
the system. This makes concepts and techniques of QFT remarkably universal,
and applicable to just about every area of physics. As a result, a solid
understanding of the basic structure, ideas and techniques of QFT is
indispensable not only to highenergy particle theorists and experimentalists,
or condensed matter theorists, but also to string theorists, astrophysicists
and cosmologists, as well as an increasing number of mathematicians.
This course will provide the introduction to the principles of QFT, mostly in
 but not limited to  the special case of the relativistic regime. The
focus will be twofold: First, on developing a "bigpicture" understanding
of the basic ideas and concepts of QFT, and equally on developing the
techniques of QFT, including renormalization and the renormalization group.
The two main textbooks are going to be:
M.E. Peskin and D.V. Schroeder, An Introduction to Quantum
Field Theory (Perseus, 1995);
and
A. Zee, Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell. 2nd edition (Princeton U.P., 2010).
I also strongly recommend
M.D. Schwartz, Quantum Field Theory and the Standard Model (Cambridge, 2014).
There are now many many more texts on QFT, some excellent, some not so much.
We will try to focus on the first two listed above, while adding some
additional material of interest at least occasionally, from Zee and other
sources. (In the case of Tony Zee's book, it is definitely worth buying the
2nd edition. It is substantially expanded compared to the 1st; and, notably,
many many typos of the 1st edition have also been corrected in the 2nd.)
The rough plan for what will be covered in this semester: [Peskin & Schroeder]
(or [PS] for short) consists of Parts I, II and III. We will NOT cover
anything from Part III (which deals mostly with YangMills and the Standard
Model), but will cover Part I, and a big portion of Part II. Luckily, there is also 232B, 234B and 233A in Spring 2019, and those courses will cover miscellaneous advanced material, including  but not limited to  Part III of [PS].
Prerequisites
Quantum mechanics. Basics of special relativity.
Homeworks and Grading Policy
There will be weekly homework assignments, posted on this website on Thursdays before noon. The assignments will then be due in one week, on Thursday in class, unless stated otherwise.
The final grade will be based on three things: 1. homeworks, 2.
participation in discussions (during discussion sessions as well as lectures),
and 3. the final exam. As I have done with other classes in previous years,
I will again apply the "twooutofthree" rule, which was explained clearly
in class. Briefly, it means that for a good grade (say an A) it is sufficient
to do really well on two out of 1., 2. and 3. listed above; for example,
if you do great on homeworks and you interact well in discussion sessions and
lectures, you will be exempt from the final exam. (Other permutations work
as well.)
Homework Assignments
Homeworks will be often assigned from either PeskinSchroeder ([PS]) or from [Zee]; some of the latter have solutions at the end of Zee's book, and I strongly encourage the students to solve them first, without consulting the official solutions in the book.
HW1 (due on Thursday, September 6): Read Appendix 2 of Chapter I.2 of [Zee] (which you will find on pages 1416 of the 2nd edition). Solve Problem I.2.2 from [Zee] (on p. 16).
HW2 (due on Thursday, September 13): Problem I.2.1 from [Zee] (on p. 16). Problem I.3.1 from [Zee] (p. 24).
HW3 (due on Thursday, September 20): Problems I.3.2 (on p. 24) and I.4.1 (p. 31) from [Zee], and Problems 2.1(a,b) and 2.2(a) from [PS] (pp. 334).
HW4 (due on Thursday, September 27): Problem I.5.1 (on p. 39) from [Zee], Problem 2.2(b,c,d) from [PS] (p. 34).
HW5 (due on Thursday, October 4): Problems II.1.1, II.1.3, II.1.4, II.1.5 and II.1.11 (on pp. 1056) from [Zee].
HW6 (due on Thursday, October 11): Problems II.2.1 and II.4.1 from [Zee] (on p. 113 and 122), Problem 3.4(a,b,c) from [PS] (on pp. 734).
HW7 (due on Thursday, October 18): Problems I.7.1, I.7.2 and I.7.3 from [Zee] (on p. 60).
HW8 (due on Thursday, October 25): Problems 4.1(a,b,c) and 4.3(a,b) from [PS] (pp. 1268), and Problem II.6.7 from [Zee] (p.143) (this last problem is essentially equivalent to Problem 4.2 of [PS]).
HW9 (due on Thursday, November 1): Problems 4.3(c) and 4.4(a,b,c) from [PS] (pp. 128130).
HW10 (due on Thursday, November 8): Problems II.5.2 (p. 131), III.1.2,
III.1.3 (p. 168), III.2.1 (p. 172), III.3.1 and III.3.2 (p. 181); in addition, read as much of Chapter VI.8 as you can, and solve Problem VI.8.1 (p. 368), all from [Zee].
HW11 (due on Thursday, November 15): Problems III.3.3 and III.3.4 from [Zee] (p. 181), Problems 5.1 and 5.2 from [PS] (pp. 16970).
HW12 (due IN TWO WEEKS, on Thursday, November 29): Problem III.6.1 on p. 198 of [Zee] (equivalent to Problem 3.2 of [PS]), and Problems 6.1 and 6.3(a,b) from [PS] (pp. 208210). (In relation to Problem 6.1, see also the discussion in Problem III.6.4 on p. 199 in [Zee].)
Optional HW13: HW12 was our final official homework set this semester. I am happy to report that all students who turned in most of their homeworks have satisfied the criteria expected from this course, and all those students are therefore exempt from the final exam.
There will still be lectures and discussion sessions during review week, as previously announced.
As an optional homework set, I encourage you to look at the following problems: IV.3.3, IV.3.4 and IV.3.5 from [Zee] (p. 244). The solutions will be presented by Stephen (and discussed further) in our discussion sessions during review week.


horava@berkeley.edu
