PHYS416-21S2 (C) Semester Two 2021

Quantum Field Theory

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 19 July 2021
End Date: Sunday, 14 November 2021
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 1 August 2021
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 1 October 2021


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 2021

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 09:00 - 10:00 E14 Lecture Theatre
19 Jul - 29 Aug
13 Sep - 24 Oct
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 15:00 - 16:00 Jack Erskine 445
19 Jul - 29 Aug
13 Sep - 24 Oct
Lecture C
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 14:00 - 15:00 Link 309 Lecture Theatre
19 Jul - 29 Aug
13 Sep - 24 Oct


Chris Gordon


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Problem Sets 20%
Final take home exam 70%
Oral Exam 10%

80% Final take home exam
20% Problem sets

Additional Course Outline Information

Academic integrity

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,066.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, 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

  • PHYS416-21S2 (C) Semester Two 2021