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8.851 Strong Interactions: Effective Field Theories of QCD, Spring 2006

Theories of Physics.
For most of your career you have been learning about more and more general theories. In this class we will do the opposite. We will learn how to devise specific "effective" theories which allow us to make more and more precise predictions, but still capture physics at different length scales. (Figure by Prof. Iain Stewart.)

Highlights of this Course

This course features readings, a complete set of assignments, and lecture notes on Soft-Collinear Effective Theory.

Course Description

This is a course in the construction and application of effective field theories, which are the modern tool of choice in making predictions based on the Standard Model. Concepts such as matching, renormalization, the operator product expansion, power counting, and running with the renormalization group will be discussed. Topics will be taken from factorization in hard processes relevant for the LHC, heavy quark decays and CP violation, chiral perturbation theory, non-relativistic bound states in field theory (QED and QCD), nucleon effective theories with a fine-tuning, and possibly other subjects from QCD, electroweak physics, and gravity.


Prof. Iain Stewart

Course Meeting Times

Two sessions / week
1.5 hours / session

One session / week
1 hour / session




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