Field Theory
in Particle Physics

Lecturers: Eric Laenen, Wouter Waalewijn, Bernard de Wit
UU Tutors: Jake Ethier, Nava Gaddam, Govert Nijs

Brief description

This is a joint course of the University of Amsterdam and Utrecht University on gauge theories and their applications in particle physics. After an introduction to abelian and non-abelian gauge theories, renormalization and dimensional regularization is discussed. Specifically, for quantum-electrodynamics we consider the divergent one-loop diagrams and explain how to obtain physically relevant results. The next topic is the renormaliziation group and the phenomenon of asymptotic freedom. We will also discuss anomalies, quantum-chromodynamics, spontaneous symmetry breaking, the Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism and electro-weak mixing in the Standard Model.


The first half of the lectures (up to and including March 20) will be from 11.00 - 13.00 in Amsterdam on Wednesdays in room C1.112 at Science Park. The second half of the lectures (starting April 3) will be from 9.00 - 12.00 in Utrecht in room BBG 023. The tutorials and exams will held locally.

The tutorials in Utrecht will be on Wednesdays and start at 14.30 in room BBG 7.12. From April 3 tutorials will start at 13.00, from April 17 at 12.30, first in room BBG 023 and from 14.30 in room BBG 7.12. Note that from Februari 13 UU students will have to attend the Nico van Kampen colloquium once every two weeks at 16.00. When there is sufficient interest, we can continue in room BBG 7.12 with the tutorial after the colloquium. Exam information is listed below. Lecture notes will be made available.

Rules concerning attendance of classes and of tutorials

For UU students the rules apply that are given in Master's Programme Theoretical Physics.

Please, pay attention to the the class attendance requirements: It is expected that all participants of a course participate by default and sign the attendance list. For the lectures this will be before the end of the first lecture of the day. For the tutorial sessions this list will circulate during the first 15 minutes of the class. In both cases, signing implies full attendance. Exceptions are discussed with the lecturer in advance.


A good introduction in quantum field theory. Prior knowledge of Lie groups is an advantage (a brief introduction is given in the first reader).

How to pass

Students can pass the course in either of two ways:
A) The final grade is composed of 20% homework, 30% midterm, and 50% final exam. The final exam score must be at least 5.0.
B) The final grade is 100% composed of the final exam.
There will be a retake for the final exam (i.e. not for the midterm). For the retake the student can again choose option A or B.


Midterm exam: Wednesday 10 April, 10.00-12.00, room BBG 023 and BBG 001.
Final exam: Wednesday June 12 10.00-13.00, room EDUC-BETA
Retake exam: Wednesday July 3 9.00-12.00, room BBG 020.
No books, lecture notes etc, will be allowed during the exams.


Every two weeks, two homework problems will be assigned at the end of the tutorial session, which have to be handed in one week later at the beginning of the next tutorial. One of the two problems will be graded (we dont tell you which one) during the consecutive week and the corrections can be discussed in the next tutorial session. The exercise that has not been graded will be briefly discussed at the tutorial session as well. For students who are late with handing in homework, we subtract 2 out of 10 points. Students that are much too late in handing in receive 0 points (we judge what "much too late" means).

Hand-in exercises are an important part of the feed-back mechanism from lecturer/TA to student. The quality, readability, and exposure of this work must therefore be of such a standard that feed-back is possible and efficient. Although it is not required to be type-set your solutions, it is necessary that the steps and structure are clear. In particular, please rewrite and restyle erratic calculations in a way that allows for efficient grading. Also: no solutions by email, no scanned pictures with your phone, etc. will be accepted. Simply hand in the problems at the tutorial session. Copying solutions from previous years is of course not allowed, and will be checked for.


Lecture notes can be bought in Utrecht from Aeskwadraat, BBG 238. We will announce in class when the next set of notes will become available. Part 1 of the notes should be available before the start of the tutorials. The notes from previous years have become obsolete. The lecture notes are part of the text of a forthcoming book "Field Theory in Particle Physics" (de Wit, Laenen, Smith).