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What is a complete book for quantum field theory?

At the moment I am studying

Piron: Foundations of Quantum Physics,

Jauch: Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, and

Ludwig: Foundations of Quantum Mechanics

All of them discuss nonrelativistic quantum mechanics.

Now my question is, if there are corresponding approaches to quantum field theory (in particular aiming to the standard model of particle physics).

Edit (in response to noldorin's comment): I think if one knows the books mentioned above, the question is not very vague. Take for example Ludwigs approch. For instance it is written with the aim in mind to provide clear foundations of nonrelativistic quantum mechanics which match Ludwigs epistemological theory about physics ("A new foundation of Physical Theories"). It is axiomatic, mathematical sound, emphasises the idea of preperation and registration procedures, uses the mathematical language of lattice theory etc. However since I am studying this book at the moment I might miss some important points in Ludwigs approach. So I ask a bit vague if there is an approach to QFT which corresponts in your view to Ludwigs approach to nonrelativistic quantum mechanics in the most essential points (from your point of view) (in style, epistemological background, mathematical language etc.). Perhaps there are students of Ludwig which transfered and developed his ideas for QFT as well, I don't know.

  • $\begingroup$ This is sort of a vague question. What sort of correspondence are you looking for? $\endgroup$
    – Noldorin
    Commented Dec 12, 2010 at 16:49

2 Answers 2


I think you are looking for things in the line of

  • R Haag Local Quantum Physics: Fields, Particles, Algebras
  • R. F. Streater and A. S. Wightman, PCT, Spin and Statistics, and All That

are you? Still, Zee's is a good idea, and some 1960 book to bridge the gap (EDIT: I was thinking some practical "lets calculate" book, as Bjorken Drell volumes, but from the point of view of fundamentals, also 1965 Jost The general theory of quantized fields could be of interest for the OP).

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This. And also H. Araki, Mathematical Theory of Quantum Fields $\endgroup$ Commented May 20, 2014 at 15:11

There are three QFT books that I would recommend.

Anthony Zee's Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell is a very good book written for advanced undergraduates/beginning grad students. It is much more physics-y than math-y in focus, with everything motivated as carefully as possible. While the book is definitely quantitative, he puts a bigger priority on learning the conceptual underpinnings and the why of QFT than he does on either mathematical rigor or heavy calculation.

Peskin and Schroder's An Introduction to Quantum Feild Theory is a bit more advanced than Zee's book, and much less physically motivated. There is a much larger focus on calculating cross-sections in this book, though. It's also a bit older, so some newer developments aren't discussed. It's very clearly written for those more interested in phenomonlogy than fundamental theory, too. But you'll finish this book knowing how to do QFT, certainly.

And then, there's Stephen Weinberg's three part quantum field theory series. These books are quite mathematically rigorous, and also quite difficult to read. You'll understand the underlying math if you start with this book (and it sounds like that's what you want from your question and comment), but teaching yourself QFT out of this at a first pass would be like trying to learn E&M out of Jackson before having heard of an electric field. There is a lot of insight and careful mathematical development that you can only find in these books, though.

  • $\begingroup$ And if it isn't clear from the above, if you're a theoretical student starting in physics, I'd strongly recommend that you start with Zee's book even if it isn't a direct heir to your nonrelativistic quantum mechanics work. He covers a breadth of topics very well and in a way that you'll be able to understand why the more advanced authors (and journal articles) are doing what they do. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 12, 2010 at 18:07
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your suggestions, however I didn't ask for standard introductory texts. $\endgroup$
    – student
    Commented Dec 12, 2010 at 20:10
  • $\begingroup$ What about the book by Srednick? $\endgroup$
    – user7757
    Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 11:30
  • $\begingroup$ @ramanujan_dirac: not familiar with it. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 16:06

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