Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

There are a couple of interesting lectures by Leonard Susskind online, and in the first lecture on Supersymmetry & Grand Unification he explains renormalization. His example is the mass renormalization of a scalar field, and he uses a couple of dimensional analysis tricks to get his results (around 35:00). It's a nice lecture that makes you feel you understand the topic better, but at the same time it is a lot of hand waving. I'm trying to write up a bit on renormalization, along his line of argument, but I'm confused about a lot of small details.

For starters, he omits a lot of factors of $\pi$ and $2$, but OK, I can live with that. I think he skipped doing an integral when calculating the one loop diagram, but I'm not sure. Then I'm confused about the different diagrams were a particle goes from $A\rightarrow B$ without any loops or branches. Which one is called the propagator: the summed one, the naked one, the naked one with an explicit mass "$\times$"? How is it related to mass? I think I understand the physics, but the terminology is confusing to me.

Instead of asking a half-dozen confused questions, I'm looking for a reference, a book or a review, that explains the mass renormalization for a scalar field in a pedagogical way but without skipping the technicalities. I'd strongly prefer something citable (I'm hesitant to quote youtube in my thesis ;-)).

share|cite|improve this question
(The first few sections of) chapter 9 of Ryder's book 'Quantum Field Theory' is what I used for renormalization of a real scalar field, and it's pretty OK. There are a lot of technicalities. You may also want to use to refer back to some earlier sections if you are not familiar with things like the vertex function or 1 particle irreducible diagrams. – Danu Feb 25 '14 at 17:57
@Danu: Thanks, that looks helpful. – jdm Feb 25 '14 at 18:08

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.