Professor Susskind presents the Hamiltonian for a quantum field, and demonstrates how these Hamiltonians describe particle interactions such as decay and scattering. He then introduces the field theory for fermions by deriving the Dirac equation. The theory behind the Dirac equations was the first theory to account fully for special relativity in the context of quantum mechanics. This relativistic Schrödinger equation implies the existence of antimatter.
This course will explore the various types of quantum systems that occur in nature, from harmonic oscillators to atoms and molecules, photons, and quantum fields. Students will learn what it means for an electron to be a fermion and how that leads to the Pauli exclusion principle. They will also learn what it means for a photon to be a boson and how that allows us to build radios and lasers. The strange phenomenon of quantum tunneling will lead to an understanding of how nuclei emit alpha particles and how the same effect predicts that cosmological space can “boil.” Finally, the course will delve into the world of quantum field theory and the relation between waves and particles.