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This subject introduces quantum field theory, the combination of quantum mechanics and relativity that explains the fundamental structure of matter and the physics of the early universe. The course has an emphasis on quantum electrodynamics. Specific topics will include an introduction to classical field theory, the Euler-Lagrange equations and Noether’s theorem; the Dirac and Klein-Gordon equations; the quantisation of free scalar, Dirac and vector fields; covariant perturbation theory, the Smatrix and Feynman diagrams; the computation of elementary processes in quantum electrodynamics.
Intended learning outcomes
The objectives of this subject are:
- to introduce the basic ideas of quantum field theory;
- to understand how quantum mechanics and special relativity combine to produce realistic theories of particle creation and annihilation;
- to develop calculational techniques to at least the level of tree-level Feynman diagrams for quantum electrodynamics;
- to provide the foundation for more advanced studies in quantum field theory.
At the completion of this subject, students should have gained the ability to:
- analyse a problem by applying fundamental laws in a sophisticated context;
- apply abstract concepts to real-world situations;
- solve relatively complicated problems using approximations;
- participate as an effective member of a group in discussions and collaborative assignments;
- manage time effectively in order to be prepared for group discussions and undertake the assignments and exam.
Last updated: 18 December 2020