This Time It’s Really for Real

Twice now I’ve thought I had a finished version of the book I’ve been writing forever (see here and here). Each time it turned out that, the way the publishing process was going, I ended up having more time to work on the manuscript and deciding I could do better, especially with some of the basic material about quantum field theory. I do think the latest version has a much improved treatment of the basics of that subject.

This version will go off to Springer in a day or so, and they plan to publish it late this year/early next year. I’m setting up a web-page for the book, there may be more material there later.

One thing ensuring that I will stop working on this is that in a couple days I’m heading off on vacation, for a two-week or so trip to Europe. Blogging during that time is likely to be light to non-existent. Back around the Fourth of July, and looking forward to thinking about other projects, anything but this book…

Update: If you’re wondering why the document length changed today, no change in content, just a minor change (improvement) in formatting.

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12 Responses to This Time It’s Really for Real

  1. Andreas says:


  2. db says:

    A friend of mine recently finished work on a textbook. He has given everyone he knows strict instructions to remind him to say “no” if he is asked to write another one 🙂

  3. anon says:

    Peter, it’s great that the book is finally going to get published, but now leaving you at the mercy of the reviews on Amazon which will be fun for the rest of us to read. If it turns out successful, there’s still the future opportunity for you to improve the book later on, so I wouldn’t be too obsessed about getting it too perfect at this stage. The main thing is eliminating the errors.

  4. Peter Woit says:

    I’m not so worried about Amazon reviews. This book isn’t for everyone, and I’m more aware of its faults than anyone. I do hope it will be useful to both mathematicians and physicists in providing a point of view on the relation of physics and mathematics that isn’t well-described elsewhere. There are quite a few good QFT and QM books, the virtue of this one I hope is that it’s explaining as clearly as possible some different things and a different point of view, supplementing other books.

    I have put quite a bit of effort into getting rid of typos and getting all the formulas correct, that’s an extremely time-consuming and not very rewarding business. There are certain topics in QFT that I started to try and write about, but stopped and decided they were best left to a later time, I hope to get to some of those.

  5. Marco Masi says:

    It is a couple of weeks I was searching like mad for an overview that links qm with Lie algebras as a mathematical foundation, but none seemed to capture the ‘spirit’ I am looking for. But now it seems I have found it… Thanks for that. 🙂

  6. Erika says:

    Off-topic, quick links? There will be one obvious outlier in this poll:

  7. A reader says:

    Congratulations ! And thank you very much for making the final draft freely available.

  8. Alexander Vlasov says:

    I found chapters about metaplectic representation very useful. How to cite the book?

  9. Thumbs up Peter! You must feel so much lighter now that you should ask the airline for a discount…


  10. Timothy P Keller says:

    I have down-loaded the final draft three or four times! No big deal, except I always
    end up printing it out because I hate reading anything at all long on a screen.

    Danged long it is ,-but it’s one of those subjects where there is always something else to say, and I think you put in details that are quite useful to understanding, not just
    technical trivia.

    Thanks, Tim

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