Yet another textbook review, destined to be one of our least viewed articles. We’ve got one request for a review of a Modern Algebra textbook, which should come early this summer. (That one’s an 800 page monster.) If there are other areas of math and physics that interest you, let me know. I’ve probably got a text on the subject, and I’ll add it to the list.

General Information

Title: An Introduction to the Standard Model of Particle Physics
Author: W.N. Cottingham and D.A. Greenwood
Original Publication Date: 1998
ISBN: 0-521-58832-4
Cover Price: Unlisted. My local University bookstore sold it for $48 Canadian
Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.ca

Subject Matter

This is a graduate level text that describes the current Standard Model of particle physics as a quantum field theory.

High Point

This is a remarkably complete and concise text. It’s only about 200 pages, but it’s packed with a lot of information. It assumes that you already know how to draw Feynman diagrams and take cross sections, though, so if you’re looking for an entry level text I’d stick with this text by Griffiths.

Low Point

I don’t believe I could have followed this text if I hadn’t already taken a course in particle physics. This was primarily due to the lack of motivation in the calculations. Once the calculation was complete, the reader would be told why it was useful, but until then it might be pages of blind algebra.

The Scores

This text is not as clear as it should have been. Derivations were unmotivated, and the language was formal mathematical language but the derivations used approximations and assumptions that would be questioned and justified more greatly in a formal math text. I give it 3 out of 6.

The structure was very logical and well laid out. The authors used a large number of short chapters (19) subdivided further into multiple sections to lay out the topics. The constructions and theories are built in a very sequential pattern, each new result building on a recent previous result. I give it 5 out of 6.

The examples were few and far between. Most topics had none, some would have one. I give it 3 out of 6.

The exercises were few but instructive, and hints and/or answers were provided in the back of the text. The lack of examples makes some of them more difficult than they should have been, though. I give it 4 out of 6.

The completeness of this text is really not in question. Virtually every aspect of the Standard Model which has reached a consensus among researchers is here. I give it 6 out of 6.

The editing was fairly good. It does have some typos in calculations that cause much confusion until sorted out, though. I give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a good text for a second course in particle physics. The problem with this is that not all institutions offer undergraduate courses in the topic, so some students will see this as their first textbook. If you might be in that situation, get this book as a supplement. I give this one 4 out of 6.

In total, An Introduction to the Standard Model of Particle Physics receives 29 out of 42.