- History of quantum field theory
The early development of the field involved Fock, Pauli, Heisenberg,
Bethe, Tomonaga, Schwinger, Feynman, and Dyson. This phase of development culminated with the construction of the theory of quantum electrodynamicsin the 1950s.
Gauge theorywas formulated and quantized, leading to the unification of forces embodied in the standard modelof particle physics. This effort started in the 1950swith the work of Yang and Mills, was carried on by Martinus Veltmanand a host of others during the 1960sand completed by the 1970sthrough the word of Gerard 't Hooft, Frank Wilczek, David Grossand David Politzer.
Parallel developments in the understanding of
phase transitionsin condensed matter physicsled to the study of the renormalization group. This in turn led to the grand synthesis of theoretical physics which unified theories of particle and condensed matter physics through quantum field theory. This involved the work of Michael Fisherand Leo Kadanoffin the 1970swhich led to the seminal reformulation of quantum field theory by Kenneth Wilson.
The study of quantum field theory is alive and flourishing, as are applications of this method to many physical problems. It remains one of the most vital areas of
theoretical physicstoday, providing a common language to many branches of physics.
* Pais, Abraham ; "Inward Bound - Of Matter & Forces in the Physical World", Oxford University Press (1986) [ISBN 0-19-851997-4] Written by a former Einstein assistant at Princeton, this is a beautiful detailed history of modern fundamental physics, from 1895 (discovery of X-rays) to 1983 (discovery of vectors bosons at C.E.R.N.).
* Weinberg, Steven ; "The Quantum Theory of Fields - Foundations (vol. I)", Cambridge University Press (1995) [ISBN 0-521-55001-7] The first chapter (pp. 1-40) of Weinberg's monumental treatise gives a brief history of Q.F.T.
* Schweber, Silvian S. ; "Q.E.D. and the men who made it: Dyson, Feynman, Schwinger, and Tomonaga", Princeton University Press (1994) [ISBN 0-691-03327-7]
*Yndurain, Francisco Jose ; "Quantum Chromodynamics: An Introduction to the Theory of Quarks and Gluons", Springer Verlag, New York, 1983. [ISBN 0-387-11752-0]
* Miller, Arthur I. ; "Early Quantum Electrodynamics : A Sourcebook", Cambridge University Press (1995) [ISBN 0-521-56891-9]
* Schwinger, Julian ; "Selected Papers on Quantum Electrodynamics", Dover Publications, Inc. (1958) [ISBN 0-486-60444-6]
* O'Raifeartaigh, Lochlainn ; "The Dawning of Gauge Theory", Princeton University Press (May 5, 1997) [ISBN 0-691-02977-6]
* Cao, Tian Yu ; "Conceptual Developments of 20th Century Field Theories", Cambridge University Press (1997) [ISBN 0-521-63420-2]
* Darrigol, Olivier ; "La genèse du concept de champ quantique", Annales de Physique (France) 9 (1984) pp. 433-501. Text in French, adapted from the author's Ph.D. thesis.
History of physics
Quantum field theory
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