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How do I start learning particle physics?

+ 1 like - 0 dislike
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I am 16 at the moment. I am really interested in physics. Especially particle physics. Can someone please tell me how to start learning the subject. like what to learn first. like which fundamental theories and concepts, the math needed in it, etc, etc.

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-06-14 13:06 (UCT), posted by SE-user Rohit
asked Dec 10, 2012 in Astronomy by Rohit (5 points) [ no revision ]
Possibly related: physics.stackexchange.com/q/312

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-06-14 13:06 (UCT), posted by SE-user twistor59
Hi Rohit, and welcome to Physics SE! Your question is rather broad, and may get closed as a result, but don't let that put you off asking specific questions. At your current level of training, I would recommend you start with good quality semi-popular physics books written by reputable authors. For example 'tHoofts "In Search of the Ulitmate Building Blocks" is excellent

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-06-14 13:06 (UCT), posted by SE-user twistor59

1 Answer

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What you want to learn is called "Quantum Field Theory", but it is a subject that requires having learnt other things first. At least some differential calculus, Special Relativity and Quantum Mechanics (a subject that itself requires some other previous knowledge).

But you can try. The simplest serious text above popular level may be "Quantum Field Theory Demystified" by David McMahon. It is a nice, cheap book, with short chapters, good explanations, solved examples and a quiz at the end of each chapter. This can be the starting point. (Later edit: Warning! It has many errata and notational inconsistencies, although the general explanations and complexity level is still nice... There seems to be no alternative text at this introductory level, although I am finding Srednicki really useful and clear - but that is a big book departing from a somewhat higher level of knowledge)

With respect to McMahon's books, please see the cooperative effort to make errata sheets here

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-06-14 13:06 (UCT), posted by SE-user Eduardo Guerras Valera
answered Dec 10, 2012 by Eduardo Guerras (435 points) [ no revision ]
And, if you can understand spanish or russian, you may be lucky if you find in a second-hand shop an old title called (in spanish) "Física Nuclear Recreativa" by K. Mujin (ed Mir Moscú). It is an interesing russian book of the early eighties. Not for rigorous learning, but full of curious observations about particles, nuclear reactors, etc.

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-06-14 13:06 (UCT), posted by SE-user Eduardo Guerras Valera
(Months later) I am now working out all examples and exercises of this book in detail, and I must say it is plaged with typos, erratas and notational inconsistencies... The explanations are still nice, but eventually I am making progress thanks to the big Srednicki preprint, that is crystal clear and very systematic in his notation. If I were to write this answer now from scratch, perhaps I wouldn't recommed other thing that Srednicki.

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-06-14 13:06 (UCT), posted by SE-user Eduardo Guerras Valera
The Errata sheets are not updated : ( The comments suggesting erratas are never moderated and keep waiting for moderation : ( ... .

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-06-14 13:06 (UCT), posted by SE-user Dimensio1n0
Nice and useful answer, good that you were able to put it down ... ;-)

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-06-14 13:06 (UCT), posted by SE-user Dilaton
@Dimension10, pending comments have been moderated already.

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-06-14 13:06 (UCT), posted by SE-user Eduardo Guerras Valera
@EduardoGuerrasValera: Thanks. Sorry to annoy you again, but I have posted a couple more comments now which are awaiting moderation, again on the string theory demystified post.

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-06-14 13:06 (UCT), posted by SE-user Dimensio1n0
@DImension10AbhimanyuPS Don't worry. I have approved them now. It is only that I am horribly busy these days. There are a lot of errata now. Sooner or later, I will find time to put them together in a first version of a nice errata sheet in pdf.

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-06-14 13:06 (UCT), posted by SE-user Eduardo Guerras Valera

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