PHYS416-20W (C) Whole Year 2020

Quantum Field Theory

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 February 2020
End Date: Sunday, 8 November 2020
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 13 March 2020
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 21 August 2020


Quantum Field Theory

In quantum field theory (QFT) we combine quantum mechanics and special relativity to come up with one of the most versatile and best tested theories in physics. It has a wide range of applications in fields as diverse as cosmology, particle, and condensed matter physics. QFT provides a natural way of modelling many body systems and explains particle annihilation and creation.

Initially we will concentrate on integer spin boson fields such as spin 0 mesons and spin 1 photons. We will examine the properties of vacuum energy and how QFT explains the Casimir effect. We will then look at how QFT is applied to spin 1/2 fermions such as the electron and the neutrino. We will extensively analyse the Dirac equation and examine how electrons couple to photons. We will also derive formulas for electron-electron scattering and the Klein–Nishina formula which provides an accurate equation for the scattering of photons from electrons.


Subject to approval of the Head of Department.

Timetable 2020

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 16:00 - 17:00 Jack Erskine 446 13 Jul - 23 Aug
7 Sep - 18 Oct
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 16:00 - 17:00 Link 309 Lecture Theatre 13 Jul - 23 Aug
7 Sep - 18 Oct
Lecture C
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 12:00 - 13:00 Link 309 Lecture Theatre 13 Jul - 23 Aug
7 Sep - 18 Oct


Chris Gordon


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Final Exam 70% Take home exam
Oral Exam 10%
Problem sets 20%

Textbooks / Resources

Required Texts

M. D. Schwartz; Quantum Field Theory and the Standard Model; Cambridge University Press, 2014.

Recommended Reading

Michael E. Peskin, Dan V. Schroeder; An Introduction To Quantum Field Theory;

Zee, A; Quantum field theory in a nutshell; 2nd ed; Princeton University Press, 2010.

Additional Course Outline Information

Academic integrity

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,054.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see School of Physical & Chemical Sciences on the department and colleges page.

All PHYS416 Occurrences

  • PHYS416-20W (C) Whole Year 2020