Now in paperback, this text introduces the theoretical framework for describing the quark-gluon plasma, an important new state of matter. The first part of this book is a self-contained introduction to relativistic thermal field theory. Topics include the path integral approach, the realand imaginary-time formalisins, fermion fields and gauge fields at finite temperature. Useful techniques such as the evaluation of frequency sums or the use of cutting rules are illustrated in various examples. The second part of the book is devoted to recent developments, giving a detailed account of collective excitations (bosonic and fermionic), and showing how they give rise to energy scales which imply a reorganization of perturbation theory. The relation with kinetic theory is also explained. Applications to processes which occur in heavy ion collisions and in astrophysics are worked out in detail. Each chapter ends with exercises and a guide to the literature.
The book will be of interest to theoreticians working in elementary particle physics, nuclear physics and astrophysics.