I did a physics degree 20 years ago and defected to maths, but I now want to learn particle physics myself using reading material. My route is advanced quantum mechanics, then quantum field theory, then the standard model. But what I would really like to begin with is a feel for the basic particle interactions. I found a great youtube video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpBF9aup5bQ, which gives some information on the Feyneman diagrams. But what I am really looking for is more detail, preferable with exercises and answers. I don't really want to get into the maths behind Feynman at this diagrams stage, but just want to know the rules.

Does anybody know of any lecture notes, or youtube videos on drawing Feynman diagrams for given particle interactions that could help me? Preferable with exercises and answers.


1 Answer 1


You generally want to stay away from pop science books or Youtube videos, because they are oversimplified for popular appeal. But there are definitely good popular resources out there that deliver a much more accurate picture, at the cost of demanding a bit more attention from the reader. Here are a few of my favorites in ascending order of sophistication:

  • Matt Strassler's blog contains a lot of posts about Feynman diagrams and their proper interpretation. As far as pop science goes, this is as good as it gets. For example, Matt's description of virtual particles is far more accurate than anything you can get in a popsci book.
  • Flip Tanedo's blog posts form a 20-part series, covering the complete Standard Model. It even covers a good amount of technical stuff, such as Higgs unitarity bounds and the distinction between chirality and helicity, all without any math. There are a couple exercises.
  • Flip Tanedo's undergrad particle physics course is an extension of his blog posts. The notes are a bit spotty, but go into more detail vs. the blog posts.
  • David Tong's Concepts in Theoretical Physics notes. This is an overview course given to first-year undergraduates at Cambridge. The material is accurate and well-explained, though it assumes a tiny bit of physics and math background.
  • Griffiths' Introduction to Elementary Particles begins with a long chapter on the history of particle physics, followed by a qualitative overview of the Standard Model focusing on Feynman diagrams. All the Feynman diagram rules are laid out, with no equations, and there are many exercises based solely on drawing Feynman diagrams. You will have to review your physics to proceed any further in the book.

At the end of the day, you should keep in mind that Feymman diagrams are a computational tool. If you don't go into the math, you're missing out on 99% of their power. Still, if you read the stuff above, you'll be able to figure out which diagrams are valid, as well as a practicing physicist.

  • $\begingroup$ Hi thanks for these suggestions. I am primarily interested in the maths. But before I learn it I want a good feel for what the particle interactions are. If I can draw the Feynman diagrams then I am well positioned to learn the maths. $\endgroup$ Sep 17, 2018 at 10:58

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