Physics 239a, Whence QFT?, Spring 2014

Professor: John McGreevy
Office: 5222 Mayer Hall
mcgreevy at
Office Hours: Mondays 2-3:30, or by appointment. 

Homework and solutions
Lecture notes
Announcements Date
Dear 239a students: Thanks for a very stimulating quarter. I certainly learned a lot and I hope you did, too. Now we get to read all the papers; they are posted on the homeworks page. 2014.06.12
I posted (partial) solutions to the problem sets. 2014.06.10
Here is a laTeX template for the end-term paper.

This is a reminder that there are no lectures during the week of May 26. We will have two extra lectures at the usual time and place on M and W of finals week.

I posted some solutions to some of the homework! It was a surprise to me, too. 2014.05.06
Here are some details about the paper assignment. Please come talk to me if you have any questions about the nature of the assignment. I do not intend for it to be very onerous. Please claim a topic (preferably by sending me email) by May 21. 2014.05.02
I will have to miss two lectures this quarter: May 7 and May 28. To make it up to you, we will have two lectures at the usual time (and place, I hope) during finals week. 2014.04.24
I posted another problem, related to today's lecture, on the homeworks page. 2014.04.09
I posted the first problem set on the homeworks page. 2014.04.05
Welcome to Physics 239a. This is a special topics class directed at graduate students in theoretical physics, especially high-energy theory and condensed matter theory. The class will be focussed on the question: where do quantum field theories come from? A tentative syllabus is here. 2014.02.24

Text: My lecture notes.

Other possibly useful texts include:
Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell, A. Zee, 2nd edition. (Available electronically from the UCSD library.)
Gauge fields and strings, A.M. Polyakov
Aspects of Symmetry, S. Coleman (Available electronically from the UCSD library.)
Quantum field theory of many-body systems, X. G. Wen
Quantum Phase Transitions (2d ed), S. Sachdev
Boulevard of broken symmetries: effective field theories of condensed matter , A. Schakel
Field theories of condensed matter systems (2d ed), E. Fradkin
Condensed Matter Field Theory (2d ed), A. Altland and B. Simons (Available electronically from the UCSD library.)
Statistical Physics Of Fields, M. Kardar
Interacting Electrons and Quantum Magnetism, A. Auerbach
Modern Quantum Field Theory, T. Banks
The Physics of Quantum Fields, M. Stone
Scaling and Renormalization in Statistical Physics, J. Cardy
Conformal Field theory, P. Di Francesco, P. Mathieu, D. Senechal

Course Times: Lecture: MW 12:30-1:50, in Mayer Hall 5301.

Homework: Yes. Due in class (or dropped off earlier).

Exams: No.

Final project: Maybe.