Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Introduction to Elementary Particles

Introduction to Elementary Particles. New York: Wiley, 1987
David J. Griffiths

Review by Mark Schneider

Many students of physics fantasize about becoming particle theorists—dealing with strings, unified theories of everything, quantum gravity. But the fact is that most of these folks (and this includes me!) never really get very far down that path. Griffiths's little book does an absolutely fabulous job of giving the reader (assuming a typical physics major’s understanding of quantum mechanics) quick and real insight into what relativistic quantum theories are all about, without years of pain and confusion. Be forewarned, though, if you are looking for a book that gives the latest dope on the most current particle models, this volume is two decades old, so look for something else (Donald Perkins’s Introduction to High Energy Physics is a more recent standard). But in a couple evenings' readings, Griffiths can help you become expert enough to sit through rather theoretical talks and have a good notion of what is going on, or allow you to get started with a more advanced book, and even to calculate a few simple Feynman diagrams on your own. Griffiths is also the author of probably the best-loved undergraduate physics textbook of all time, his Introduction to Electrodynamics, as well as a very nice Introduction to Quantum Mechanics.

Fourth Floor Science Library QC 793.2 .G75 1987b

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