PHYS 4490

Relativistic Quantum Fields and Particles
Spring 2022

Professor Nikolaos Kidonakis
Office: SC437
Phone: (470) 578-6607

Lectures: TTH 2:00-3:15 pm, Academic Bldg 250

Textbook: A Modern Introduction to Quantum Field Theory by Michele Maggiore

Course description
PHYS 4490. Relativistic Quantum Fields and Particles. 3-0-3.
Prerequisite: Grade of "C" or better in PHYS 3710
This special topics course is an introduction to relativistic quantum mechanics, quantum field theory, elementary particle physics, and gauge theory. Students will learn how the combination of the two revolutionary physics theories of the first half of the 20th century, relativity and quantum mechanics, leads us to the concept of quantum fields and the description of the fundamental forces and particles in the universe. Students will see how electromagnetism, the strong and weak nuclear interactions, and even gravity, can be described in a unified way as gauge theories.

Learning outcomes
1. Learn how to derive relativistic Klein-Gordon and Dirac equations.
2. Learn how to use gauge symmetries to derive conservation laws in physics.
3. Analyze the quantization of scalar, vector, and spinor fields.
4. Use perturbation theory in elementary particle interactions.
5. Describe fundamental interactions in nature in terms of unitary groups.

Homework 30%
Tests 45% (3 tests, 15% each)
Final Exam 25%

Grades: A >90%; B 80%-90%; C 70%-80%; D 60%-70%; F <60%

Last day to withdraw without academic penalty is March 15. Last day to withdraw with a WF is April 25.

Tentative Schedule

Jan 11-13
Relativistic kinematics; Klein-Gordon equation

Jan 18-20
Dirac Equation; antiparticles

Jan 25-27
Lagrangian formulation for particles and fields; Noether's theorem;
canonical quantization of scalar fields

Feb 1-3
Test 1; Quantization of spinor fields; local gauge invariance

Feb 8-10
Quantization of gauge fields

Feb 15-17
Perturbation theory

Feb 22-24
Feynman diagrams; Quantum Electrodynamics

March 1-3
Test 2; Cross sections

March 8-10
Spring break; no classes

March 15-17
Ultraviolet and infrared divergences; dimensional regularization

March 22-24

March 29-31
Path-integral quantization

April 5-7
Test 3; Non-abelian gauge theories; SU(2) and Electroweak theory

April 12-14
Spontaneous symmetry breaking; Higgs mechanism

April 19-21
SU(3) and Quantum Chromodynamics

April 26-28
QCD and asymptotic freedom; soft gluons

Final Exam  Tuesday, May 10, 1:00-3:00 pm

Exams Policy
Please note that any mobile device that transmits a signal is not permitted to be used in an exam. All mobile devices should be deactivated during exams. Final exam make-up is only for documented and excused emergencies or for scheduling conflicts with other final exams.

Academic Integrity
Every KSU student is responsible for upholding the provisions of the Student Code of Conduct, as published in the Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs. The Student Code of Conduct addresses the University's policy on academic honesty, including provisions regarding plagiarism and cheating, unauthorized access to University materials, misrepresentation/falsification of University records or academic work, malicious/intentional misuse of computer facilities and/or services, and misuse of student identification cards. Incidents of alleged academic misconduct will be handled through the established procedures of the University.

Attendance & Participation
Students are expected to attend all lectures, take all tests and exams, and complete all homework assignments.

Course Delivery
KSU may shift the method of course delivery at any time during the semester in compliance with University System of Georgia health and safety guidelines. In this case, alternate teaching modalities that may be adopted include hyflex, hybrid, synchronous online, or asynchronous online instruction.

COVID-19 illness
If you are feeling ill, please stay home and contact your health professional. In addition, please email your instructor to say you are missing class due to illness. Signs of COVID-19 illness include, but are not limited to, the following: 
Fever of 100.4 F or higher
Runny nose or new sinus congestion
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Sore Throat
New loss of taste and/or smell 

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For more information regarding COVID-19 (including testing, vaccines, extended illness procedures and accommodations), see KSU’s official Covid-19 website. 

Face Coverings
Based on guidance from the University System of Georgia (USG), all vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals are encouraged to wear a face covering while inside campus facilities. Unvaccinated individuals are also strongly encouraged to continue to socially distance while inside campus facilities, when possible.