Where to get v3 (but see below for preliminary v4)
usual formats -- pdf, ps, tex + eps figures, etc.
- archive here: tex + eps figures + pdf figures, suitable for
pdftex (or TeXShop)
- pdf here: produced by pdftex (may be slightly better than
Sorry, we aren't mailing printed copies.
If you still have computer-related problems,
please contact your System Manager before e-mailing me.
What makes it different
- It's free.
- It's fast. You can download it from arXiv.org or its mirrors, just
like preprints, without a trip to the library or bookstore or waiting for an
order from the publisher.
- It's electronic. You can print it, but the PDF version has many advantages, like:
- Download it at work, home, etc. (or carry it on a USB flash drive), rather
than carrying a book or printing multiple copies.
- Get updates just as quickly, rather than printing yet again.
- It has the usual Web links, so you can get the referenced papers just as
- It has a separate "outline" window containing a table of contents on
which you can click to take the main window to that item.
- You can electronically search (do a "find" on) the text.
- Save trees (and ink).
- Theft is not a problem.
- No wear or tear.
- No paper cuts.
- It can't be eaten.
- It covers many recent topics at an introductory yet nontrivial level, such as:
- general relativity
- It introduces many topics not appearing in other textbooks, including:
- 1/N expansion (color ordering) in QCD, including relation to random
- spacecone (spinor helicity), including explicit calculations of 4- and
5-point S-matrices in Yang-Mills
- many useful gauges, such as Gervais-Neveu, Nielsen-Kallosh, unitary
lightcone, and even string gauges in gravity
- finite N=1 supersymmetric theories
- It is NOT:
- a history book.
- All the other recent, comprehensive field theory texts
take the "traditional" approach of covering topics in chronological
(rather than logical) order, in storybook fashion. (This is strongly
reminiscent of introductory classical mechanics courses that still teach
Newton's laws before energy-momentum conservation.)
- This book takes
advantage of hindsight, using what we now know to be the most efficient
and general approaches. (For example, these other texts still quantize QED
canonically, even though they know that method is inadequate for QCD. Some
even claim path integrals are less rigorous, even though constructive
quantum field theory has shown the opposite to be true.)
- Whenever I have
questioned anyone who prefers the traditional approach, after eliminating all
the spurious clichés, it all boils down to nostalgia. (I have even heard
the excuse that it is useful to learn the less useful approaches simply
because they ultimately failed --- certainly an excellent reason to relegate
these topics to true history courses, for those who have the time and
interest.) This really means that most professors simply teach things the
way they learned them, and (ironically) will not bother to learn a new way, or
even to check if it has any advantages. (Unfortunately, similar remarks
often apply to research.)
- a cookbook.
race to Feynman diagrams as quickly as
possible, because they either consider them the only useful part of field
theory, or they think such an approach is an introductory one. One
consequence is that the Higgs effect must take a back seat, and thus weak
interactions are underemphasized or explained more phenomenologically.
- a concept book. All the recent texts that use a modern approach,
although giving the appearance of being comprehensive except for conciseness,
are curiously deficient in explicit S-matrix calculations, especially for QCD.
This book both includes modern concepts and calculates with them, since the dualistic
approach of concept book plus calculation book has always proved deficient
for lack of two good books that work well together.
- a survey. With few exceptions, theories are described in this book at a
level that allows explicit calculations.
- an art book. It covers topics that have proven useful, not those that have
appealed to certain tastes.
For information on my course based on this book, see my
PHY 610-611 page.
See also an overview of the course.
See also the
APS News article.
An interesting article on
open source books.
Work in progress on v4
Here is v4 so far.
I have incorporated almost all the minor corrections, & added new subsections IC6 (cosets), XIA8 (AdS/CFT), and XIB8 (vertex operators).
Minor corrections I didn't get to yet:
- p. 839-40,3,5,7,53-4,8,62,4-5: The sign conventions for the antifields of the Yang-Mills ghost & antighost used throughout section XIIB-C are inconsistent with those for the more general case in section XIIC, and should be reversed.
- p. 839, middle: Really we should have QΦ=-Q̂Φ (Q-hat), & similarly for J & Ĵ, as explained in subsection IC1.