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I am searching for a complete and comprehensive book for QFT. What is, in your opinion, a good one?

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Before answering, please see our policy on resource recommendation questions. Please write substantial answers that detail the style, content, and prerequisites of the book, paper or other resource. Explain the nature of the resource so that readers can decide which one is best suited for them rather than relying on the opinions of others. Answers containing only a reference to a book or paper will be removed!

closed as primarily opinion-based by ACuriousMind, John Rennie, yuggib, Danu, HDE 226868 Sep 11 at 2:02

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I believe this must have been asked at least thrice already, in one form or another. Here they are (some of them for particle physics but there is obvious overlap): , , – Marek Apr 11 '11 at 16:31
possible duplicate of Book recommendations – Danu Sep 9 at 10:17

7 Answers 7

As somebody who has studied field theory recently for the first time I have something to say here. The one I recommend, and the one I wish it had been recommended to me is Quantum Field Theory and The Standard Model by Matthew Schwartz. I have to admit that I haven't gone through all of it since I have discovered it recently. But the parts I have tried are well written and the explanations are solid. It's the kind of thing you want to read for the first time

About the standard in the field, Peskin & Schroeder, I have used it to study the subject and I have disliked it a lot. True, some parts are not that bad, but overall i felt that it is sometimes too obscure. Some explanations in that book are too cryptic for the beginner in my opinion. It somehow reminded me the infamous electrodynamics Jackson book, although I still think that Peskin is a little better that Jackson.

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  • The most complete and comprehensive approach to quantum field theory is certainly Steven Weinberg's series (Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3). No prior knowledge is assumed. Everything is explained from first principles. Weinberg has an amazing physical understanding and developed a major part of QFT. If you want to deepen your understanding or if you want to learn everything including important proofs these are the perfect books for you.

  • For beginners I recommend An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory by Peskin and Schroeder. The subject is very well-explained. As a prerequisite you should have heard about quantum mechanics. Sadly, the exercises are not the most enlightening ones.

  • I am aware you did not ask for lecture notes. However, these provide a more pedagogical approach. There are David Tong's lecture notes and Timo Weigand's lecture notes. Additionally, they provide exercises (partly with solutions).

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Prof. Eduardo Fradkin Also has some nice notes: – Otto Aug 25 at 3:52
For David Tong's notes, if you want the full classroom experience, Perimeter Institute of a whole series of video lectures of him teaching what the notes cover: – JohnnyMo1 Sep 9 at 1:41

I think the didactically best book is Student Friendly Quantum Field Theory by Klauber.

As a second book I would recommend Gauge Theories in Particle Physics by Aitchison and Hey or alternatively A Modern Introduction to Quantum Field by Maggiore.

I think Zee's QFT in a Nutshell is to dense for a beginner, but really great as a third or fourth book. The same, at least in my humble opinion, is true for the Weinberg books.

Peskin Schröder can be great to learn computations, but I find it often hard to see the bigger picture through all the computations.

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I studied for these books:

N.N.Bogoliubov & D.D. Shirkov, Introduction to the Theory of Quantized Fields, 3rd edition.

N.N.Bogoliubov & D.D. Shirkov, Quantum Fields, 3rd edition

They are very good, but I don't know these modern books (I believe that for a second course of quantum field theory can be good, because the Bogoliubov books are very old).

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Peskin & Schroeder is really difficult and time taking books for beginning, it's exercises are not suited at all and there is least compatibility with preceding chapter. It has very bad approach to QED. And will kill all motivation to pursue. The book by Zee, Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell, is good for someone with background on gravity and condense matter, but will mess up the beginner's mind with bombarding of variety of topic.

I personally suggest, Ashok Das, Ryder, and Mandel & Shaw. They cover whole material from Lorentz, group (Ashok Das), QED (Mandel), and path integral and renormalization (Ryder and Das).

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Anthony Zee's book QFT in a Nutshell is remarkably complete, and yet rather small. It provides a good intro to the subject.

A complete, thorough and good book is Steven Weinberg's 3-volume opus on QFT (vol. 1, vol. 2, vol. 3). It is perhaps too complete for beginners.

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Really, Zee? It's good for a physical understanding, but I think it lacks depth. – JamalS Jan 14 at 17:26

A list of recommendations:

These are recommendations from the older answers that did not follow the book policy. Plain recommendations are inappropriate now, try to explain what the book covers, it's style, etc.

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