Effective Field Theory

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Course Date: 16 September 2014 to 20 January 2015 (18 weeks)

Price: free

Course Summary

8.EFTx is a graduate course on Effective Field Theory (EFT), which provides a fundamental framework to describe physical systems with quantum field theory. For residential students it is listed as 8.S851.

Course Instructors

Iain Stewart

Professor Stewart is a Professor of Physics in the Physics Department of MIT. He got his PhD in Theoretical Physics at Caltech in 1999, and joined the Physics faculty at MIT in 2003. Beyond creating this graduate course on Effective Field Theory, he has also taught a graduate class in Quantum Field Theory, and undergraduate classes in Advanced Classical Mechanics and Quantum Mechanics. His research specializes in designing and using Effective Field Theory to describe physics at collider experiments like the Large Hadron Collider, B-factories, fixed-target experiments, and e+e- colliders. He is a former Sloan Fellow, a Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2013.

Saif Rayyan

Saif Rayyan is a lecturer in the Physics Department and the Concourse Program at MIT. He received his Ph.D. in theoretical particle physics from Virginia Tech before switching his interests to teaching and to physics education research. He moved to MIT as a postdoc working with the RELATE group (Research in Learning, Assessing and Tutoring Effectively). Now, In addition to teaching introductory physics, Saif is working on the development of courses on edX, and trying to find the best practices in using online platforms to help students learn.

Daniel Kolodrubetz

Daniel Kolodrubetz earned his BSc in physics from Caltech in 2011. Since then, he has been a PhD candidate at MIT where he studies aspects of collider physics from an effective theory perspective.

Evangelos Sfakianakis

Evangelos Sfakianakis earned his Diploma in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens in 2007 before coming to MIT to pursue a PhD in theoretical physics. As of Fall 2014 he will be a Fortner Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research so far focuses on the early universe, ranging from inflationary perturbations to the formation and evolution of oscillons.

Course Description

The course described below will start September 16, 2014.


What do I have to buy in order to participate in the course? Nothing. All edX courses are free. The lectures, homework, and lecture notes are all available online. Will certificates be awarded? Yes. Online learners who achieve a passing grade in 8.EFTx will earn for free a certificate of mastery. These certificates will indicate you have successfully completed the course, but will not include a specific grade. Certificates will be issued by edX under the name of MITx. What textbook do I need for the course? In 8.EFTx readings will be mainly from a latex version of the lecture notes and freely available online arXiv research articles. Occasionally additional reading from commonly available quantum field theory textbooks will be suggested to supplement these free sources. When can I watch the lectures? You can watch the lectures any time at your leisure. Can I register to the class after the start date has passed? Yes, you can register at any time between the start date and the end date. To obtain the certificate, however, you will have to get at least 60% of the total available points for the class. I don't have the prerequisites. Can I still take the course? We do not check students for prerequisites, so you are certainly allowed to try. However, 8.EFTx does depend on experience with quantum field theory

Course Prerequisites

A graduate level course in Quantum Field Theory.

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