Supersymmetry for Beginners
James Cook's Homepage Supersymmetry Seminar:(Spring 2005)
I gave a number of lectures on supersymmetry (SUSY) for a undergraduate seminar that met fridays from 3-4pm. The goal of these lectures is to introduce an upper-level undergraduate to the ideas and terminologies of N=1 SUSY in flat spacetime. I assume some familiarity with special relativity and the ideas of variational calculus ( Euler-Lagrange equations ) and symmetries of the Lagrangian. Even if you don't have all that background there still should be something to learn, the calculations we'll do are good excercises in index-manipulation and spinors, if you want to study modern theoretical particle physics you should try to hone these skills. Posted below are the transparencies from last time I gave these talks at NCSU. The conventions used in these talks for the supercharges are slightly nonstandard, so beware. They are very close to those of Wess and Bagger.

  • Conventions and useful identities
  • Overview
  • Wess Zumino Model
  • N=1 Rigid Superspace
  • The superfield construction
  • SUSY actions and the MSSM

  • These talks were summary, You might try to fill in the gaps and explain the methods we use. I suggest reading other materials to fill in background if you're missing something. For instance:

  • Quantum Field Theory by Lewis H. Ryder. Read chapters 2 and 3, that should make our first lecture a bit less mysterious. The last chapter in the second edition is on susy, but it is very introductory it covers only what we did in the first lecture as I recall. Chapter 3 is particularly beautiful, it has Weyl's derivation of E&M from the gauge principle, very neat.
  • Introduction to Elementary Particles by Griffiths. Chapter 7 has nice formulas about Dirac matrices and chapter 11 has a more physical discussion of gauge theories.
  • Supersymmetry and Supergravity by Wess and Bagger. We cover most of chapters I-VII in this book.Many students use this as a starting point for studying susy, and there are reviews at which closely mirror this text for at least the SUSY material. In particular you should see Introduction to Supersymmetry by Joseph D. Lykken hep-th/9612114v1 (this is the first version there may be a later version). Much of what is done in Wess and Bagger is expanded on in Lykken's review and it has more to say about recent developements in SUSY and SUSY in dimensions other than 4.(and it's free)
  • Calculus of Variations by I.M. Gelfand and S.V. Fomin. Chapter 7 of this book developes the calculus of variations for multiple integrals. Its a bit off-topic, but if you're curious how the Euler Lagrange equations arise from a relativistic action this might help make things a bit more down to earth, well analytical anyway.
  • Symmetry Methods for Differential Equations: A Beginner's Guide by Peter E. Hydon. Again a bit off topic but it helps make the connection between the infinitesimal group action and the finite group action more intuitive. Dr. Kogan used this book for a course of a similar name. The symmetries are just those of the plane in this text.