Renormalization

From Lorentz to Landau (and Beyond)

  • Laurie M. Brown

Table of contents

About this book

Introduction

The purpose of this section is to give you a sketch of how quantum field theory works, where Feynman graphs come from and why they are so useful, where the infinities come from, and how we have learned to deal with them without compromising the physical principles involved. I am purposely treating the problem at the level of the 1940s and 1950s, so as to keep the basic ideas clear and avoid the more difficult problems and more sophisticated methods of recent years. I shall relate my discussion simply to quantum electrodynamics (QED) since that is the most familiar case and the case that was in the forefront from the beginning (though in fact I shall ignore many of the special complications that have to be dealt with when you quantize a gauge field). The methods I shall be describing are applicable to all sorts of quantized fields: the detailed factors are different but the structure of the logical development isjust the same. Not surprisingly, though, the renormalization procedure breaks down if the theory in question is nonrenormalizable. Whether nonrenormalizable theories are theories at all is a matter for debate; in any case, they hold no practical interest for physicists since they are essentially unusable. Quantum electrodynamics was devised in 1927 by Dirac, less than a year after the Schrodinger equation appeared and before the Dirac equa­ tion for the relativistic electron had been invented.

Keywords

Renormalization group development electrodynamics electron field theory mechanics phase quantum electrodynamics quantum field quantum field theory quantum mechanics renormalization self-energy turbulence vacuum

Editors and affiliations

  • Laurie M. Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physics and AstronomyNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4612-2720-5
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag New York 1993
  • Publisher Name Springer, New York, NY
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-0-387-94401-2
  • Online ISBN 978-1-4612-2720-5
  • About this book