Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session


This course is the third and last term of the quantum field theory sequence. Its aim is the proper theoretical discussion of the physics of the standard model.


8.324 (Quantum Field Theory II)


Your grade will be based on problem sets to be given out roughly every 2 weeks. There are no exams.

Textbooks and References

The required textbook is:

Peskin, Michael E., and Daniel V. Schroeder. An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory (Frontiers in Physics). New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1995. ISBN: 9780201503975. (Corrections page: An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory.)

Please see the readings page for other recommended texts.

Subjects and Topics

1. Introduction to the Standard Model

Fields, particle content, and symmetries.

2. Renormalization Group

Wilsonian flow and fixed points. Renormalization group equations and anomalous dimensions. β & γ-functions in the standard model (SM) scheme. Quantum chromodynamics (QCD) β-function and asymptotic freedom. Renormalization of composite operators.

3. Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking

Review of Goldstone’s theorem. The σ-model and chiral symmetry breaking in QCD. Pions as goldstone bosons. Standard model Higgs mechanism and electroweak gauge symmetry.

4. Flavor Sector

Cabibbo-Kobayashi-Maskawa (CKM) matrix, flavor & mass eigenstates. Weak interactions, flavor-changing neutral currents & Glashow-Iliopoulos-Maiani (GIM) mechanism. CP-violation in Kaon and B-decays. Heavy quark symmetry. Dirac & Majorana Neutrinos. See-Saw mechanism.

5. Collider Phenomenology (Large Hadron Collider (LHC))

Standard model Higgs production and decay. Parton distribution functions and deep inelastic scattering. Jets in QCD. Infrared safety.

6. Anomalies

Global anomalies, triangle diagrams, symmetries of the path-integral. Anomalies in chiral gauge theory. Index theorem and zero-modes. π0 → γγ.

7. Topological Sectors in Gauge Theory and Instantons

Large gauge transformations,θ-vacuua, Instantons and U(1)A breaking.

8. Confinement and Lattice QCD

Wilson loops, area law for confinement. Lattice action for gluons. Strong coupling expansion. Fermions on the lattice.

9. Standard Model Problems

Naturalness and hierarchy problem. SU(5) and grand unified theories. Coupling unification and supersymmetry. Proton decay.

Course Info

Learning Resource Types

assignment Problem Sets