8.851 | Spring 2013 | Graduate
Effective Field Theory


For the final project, you will explore an effective field theory subject on your own and give a short presentation to the rest of the class. The goal of your presentation is to teach it to your fellow students at a level they can understand without having done background reading. The subject of effective field theory is rich and diverse, and far broader than I will be able to cover in one semester. The presentations will create an opportunity for you to learn about additional subjects beyond those in lecture. Each talk will be 35 minutes, with an 5 additional minutes for questions. They will take place during exam week.

Below is a list of possible topics. If you prefer, you are free to come up with your own. For each of the ones below, a reference to start you off is listed. I imagine that, taken far enough, some of your projects could be turned into research that leads to a publishable paper (though for the class you are only required to report on research from the literature). Let me know in advance of your choice. Topics will be assigned on a first come first serve basis to avoid overlap. But a topic may be rich enough that it can be split between two people, and I will certainly consider such requests.

Topics Suggestions and References

Finite Temperature QCD: Hard Thermal Loop Effective Theory (HTL) Andersen, Jens O., and M. Strickland. “Resummation in Hot Field Theories.” Annals of Physics 317 (2005): 281-353.
Effective Field Theory for Inflation

Cheung, Clifford, A. Liam Fitzpatrick, et al. “The Effective Field Theory of Inflation.” Journal of High Energy Physics 0308 (2008): 14.

Weinberg, Steven. “Effective Field Theory for Inflation.” Physical Review D_77_ (2008): 123541.

Burgess, C. P., Hyun Min Lee, et al. “Power-Counting and the Validity of the Classical Approximation During Inflation.” Journal of High Energy Physics 0909 (2009): 103.

Non-Relativistic General Relativity, (NRGR) [a classical EFT]

Goldberger, Walter D., and Ira Z. Rothstein. “An Effective Field Theory of Gravity for Extended Objects.” Physical Review Letters D73 (2006): 104029.

———. “Dissipative Effects in the Worldline Approach to Black Hole Dynamics.” Physical Review Letters D73 (2006): 104030.

EFT for Cosmological Fluids

Carrasco, John Joseph M., Mark P. Hertzberg, et al. “The Effective Field Theory of Cosmological Large Scale Structures.” Journal of High Energy Physics 9 (2012): 82.

Ballesteros, Guillermo, and Brando Bellazzini. “Effective Perfect Fluids in Cosmology.” Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics 04 (2013): 001.

Unstable Particle Effective Theory [electroweak physics for W, top & QCD]

M. Beneke, A. P. Chapovsky, A. Signer, et al. “Effective Theory Approach to Unstable Particle Production.” Physical Review Letters 93 (2004): 011602.

———. “Effective Theory Calculation of Resonant High-Energy Scattering.” Nuclear Physics B686 (2004): 205–47.

EFT of a Fermi Surface Polchinski, Joseph. “Effective Field Theory and the Fermi Surface.” Lectures presented at TASI, 1992.
Chiral EFT for the Weak Interactions of a Heavy Higgs Feruglio, Ferruccio. “The Chiral Approach to the Electroweak Interactions.” International Journal of Modern Physics A8 (1993): 4937–72, with the caveat that it’s not what nature picked…
Flavor Changing Electroweak Interactions at Low Energy

Beyond what was covered in lecture:

Buras, Andrzej J. “Weak Hamiltonian, CP Violation and Rare Decays.” (1998).

Buchalla, Gerhard, Andrzej J. Buras, et al. “Weak Decays Beyond Leading Logarithms.” Reviews of Modern Physics 68 (1996): 1125–44.

High Density Effective Theory (HDET) for QCD

Ki Hong, Deog. “Aspects of High Density Effective Theory in QCD.” Nuclear Physics B582 (2000): 451–76.

Schaefer, T. “Hard Loops, Soft Loops, and High Density Effective Field Theory.” Nuclear Physics A728, (2003): 251–71.

Finite Density Nucleon EFT

Furnstahl, R. J., James V. Steele, et al. “Perturbative Effective Field Theory at Finite Density.” Nuclear Physics A671 (2000): 396–415.

Furnstahl, R. J., H. -W. Hammer, et al. “Field Redefinitions at Finite Density.” Nuclear Physics A689 (2001): 846–68.

Ferromagnets and Antiferromagnets from EFT Leutwyler, H. “Nonrelativistic Effective Lagrangians.” Physical Review D49 (1994): 3033–43.
Extra Dimensions and KK States as an EFT Csaki, Csaba. “TASI Lectures on Extra Dimensions and Branes.” (2004).
Gauge Mediated Supersymmetry, Integrating out Messengers

Giudice, G. F., and R. Rattazzi. “Extracting Supersymmetry-Breaking Effects from Wave-Function Renormalization.” Nuclear Physics B511 (1998): 25–44.

John Terning’s book “Modern Supersymmetry.”

Jesse Thaler’s tasi lectures

Bertolini, Daniele, Jesse Thaler, et al. “TASI 2012: Super-Tricks for Superspace.” (2013).

Non-Relativistic QCD: Quarkonia Production or Decays, or Velocity Renormalization Group

Bodwin, Geoffrey T., Eric Braaten, et al. “Rigorous QCD Analysis of Inclusive Annihilation and Production of Heavy Quarkonium.” Physical Review D51 (1997): 1125–71.

Luke, Michael E., Aneesh V. Manohar, et al. “Renormalization Group Scaling in Nonrelativistic QCD.” Physical Review D61 (2000): 074025.

Hoang, A. H., and A. V. Manohar. “The Threshold t-tbar Cross Section at NNLL Order.” Physical Review D65 (2001): 014014.

Non-Relativistic QED: Hydrogen or Positronium Bound States, Renormalization

Pineda, Antonio, and J. Soto. “The Lamb Shift in Dimensional Regularization.” Physics Letters B420 (1998): 391–6.

Manohar, Aneesh V., and Iain W. Stewart. “Logarithms of Alpha in QED Bound States from the Renormalization Group.” Physical Review Letters 85 (2000): 2248–51.

Quantum Gravity in Perturbation Theory ’t Hooft and Veltman in Ann.Inst.Henri Poincare, Vol.XX, 1974, pg.69, also gr-qc/9512024: Donoghue, John F. “Introduction to the Effective Field Theory Description of Gravity.” (1995).
Finite Density Nucleon EFT

Furnstahl, R. J., James V. Steele, et al. “Perturbative Effective Field Theory at Finite Density.” Nuclear Physics A671 (2000): 396–415.

Furnstahl, R. J., H. -W. Hammer, et al. “Field Redefinitions at Finite Density.” Nuclear Physics A 689 (2001): 846–68.

Wess-Zumino Terms in EFT, eg. π0 → γγ in Georgi’s Weak Interactions Book
Large Nc QCD, Effective Fields for Counting Nc’s Manohar, Aneesh V. “Large N QCD.” (1998).
Partially Quenched Chiral Perturbation Theory.

Sharpe, Stephen, and Noam Shoresh. “Partially Quenched Chiral Perturbation Theory Without φ0.” Physical Review D64 (2001): 114510.

Golterman, Maarten, Ka Chun Leung. “Applications of Partially Quenched Chiral Perturbation Theory.” Physical Review D57 (1998): 5703–10.

Bernard, Claude, and Maarten Golterman. “Partially Quenched Gauge Theories and a Application to Staggered Fermions.” Physical Review D49 (1994): 486–94.

EFT for Quasi-Classical Plasmas Brown, Lowell S., and Laurence G. Yaffe. “Effective Field Theory for Highly Ionized Plasmas.” Physics Reports 340 (2001): 1–164.
Ultraviolet Fixed Points in Gravity Codello, Alessandro, Roberto Percacci, et al. “Investigating the Ultraviolet Properties of Gravity with a Wilsonian Renormalization Group Equation.” Annals of Physics 324 (2009): 414–69.
EFT for Black Holes and the Cosmological Constant Cohen, Andrew G., David B. Kaplan, et al. “Effective Field Theory, Black Holes, and the Cosmological Constant.” Physical Review Letters 82 (1999): 4971–4.
Relativistic Superfluid EFT Son, D. T. “Low-Energy Quantum Effective Action for Relativistic Superfluids.” (2002).
An Example of EFT from Condensed Matter Physics  
Conformal EFT Fitzpatrick, A. Liam, Emanuel Katz, et al. “Effective Conformal Theory and the Flat-Space Limit of AdS.” Journal of High Energy Physics 1107 (2011): 23.
EFT for Cold Atoms Braaten, Eric, and H. -W. Hammer. “Efimov Physics in Cold Atoms.” Annals of Physics 322 (2007): 120–63.
A Lattice QCD EFT: Finite Volume, Finite Lattice Spacing, or Twisted Mass

Lüscher, Martin. “Advanced Lattice QCD.” Lectures given at the Les Houches Summer School ‘Probing the Standard Model of Particle Interactions’, July 28-September 5, 1997.

Baer, Oliver, Gautam Rupak, et al. “Chiral perturbation theory at O(a^2) for lattice QCD.” Physical Review D70 (2004): 034508.

Chiral Perturbation Theory for Matter fields Ch.5, Manohar and Wise for Heavy Meson Matter or look at πs coupling to a single nucleon
Low Energy Goldstino Theorems, Nonlinear Goldstino Representations

Komargodski, Zohar, and Nathan Seiberg. “From Linear SUSY to Constrained Superfields.” Journal of High Energy Physics 0909 (2009): 066.

John Terning’s book “Modern Supersymmetry.”

Jesse Thaler’s tasi lectures

Bertolini, Daniele, Jesse Thaler, et al. “TASI 2012: Super-Tricks for Superspace.” (2013).

Seiberg Duality, Matching the Low Energy Description of Two Theories Seiberg, N. “Electric-Magnetic Duality in Supersymmetric Non-Abelian Gauge Theories.” Nuclear Physics B435 (1995): 129–46.
EFT for Dark Matter Direction Detection Fitzpatrick, A. Liam, Wick Haxton, et al. “The Effective Field Theory of Dark Matter Direct Detection.” (2012).
A continuation of any other topic discussed in lecture not already mentioned above. A proposed topic must go beyond what we discuss in lecture. (HQET, SCET, Chiral perturbation theory for goldstones or heavy matter fields, renormalons, electroweak Hamiltonian, NN effective theory (eg. 3 body interactions), higher dimension operators in the standard model, …). 
A topic of your choosing (with instructor’s approval). I’m well aware that this list is far from complete and some of you will surely come up with a topic you find more interesting than those I have listed. For example I didn’t mention any EFT topics from beyond the standard model besides the MSSM and extra dimension models.

List of Presentation Topics Selected by Students

  • RGE scaling for H→ gamma gamma
  • EFT for a fermi surface
  • An EFT for Cold Atoms
  • Finite lattice spacing in Lattice QCD
  • Seiberg Duality
  • Extra dimensions and KK states as an EFT
  • Large Nc QCD
Course Info
As Taught In
Spring 2013
Learning Resource Types
theaters Lecture Videos
notes Lecture Notes
assignment Problem Sets
group_work Projects