PHYS 4490

Relativistic Quantum Fields and Particles
Spring 2023

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

Lectures: TTH 12:30-1:45 pm, Academic Bldg 323

Textbook: Quantum Field Theory by Lewis Ryder, second edition

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%

A midterm grade will be assigned by the midterm grade due date identified on the Spring 2023 academic calendar. This midterm grade is for assessing mid-semester performance prior to the last day to withdraw without academic penalty. You may view your midterm grade in Owl Express. Note that only your final grade will be officially recorded on your academic transcript.

Last day to withdraw without academic penalty is March 14. Last day to withdraw with a WF is April 25.

Tentative Schedule

Jan 10-12
Relativistic kinematics; Klein-Gordon equation

Jan 17-19
Dirac Equation; antiparticles

Jan 24-26
Lagrangian formulation for particles and fields; Noether's theorem;
canonical quantization of scalar fields

Jan 31-Feb 2
Test 1; Quantization of spinor fields; local gauge invariance

Feb 7-9
Quantization of gauge fields

Feb 14-16
Perturbation theory

Feb 21-23
Feynman diagrams; Quantum Electrodynamics

Feb 28-March 2
Test 2; Cross sections

March 7-9
Spring break; no classes

March 14-16
Ultraviolet and infrared divergences; dimensional regularization

March 21-23

March 28-30
Path-integral quantization

April 4-6
Test 3; Non-abelian gauge theories; SU(2) and Electroweak theory

April 11-13
Spontaneous symmetry breaking; Higgs mechanism

April 18-20
SU(3) and Quantum Chromodynamics

April 25-27
QCD and asymptotic freedom; soft gluons

Final Exam  Thursday, May 4, 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. 

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