Ph 135c
Introduction to Particle Physics
Spring 2017

Course logistics

Course materials

Course description
This course is designed to give you a working understanding of the field of particle physics. This is a broad topic, including theory and experiment, historical developments and current activities, accelerators and detectors, terrestrial and astrophysical systems, and more. Ten weeks is a criminally short amount of time to cover the field, but we will still dive deep into the material where possible.

The course is split roughly into two parts. The first half of the course covers the Standard Model from a theoretical and calculational perspective. This half will feel like a traditional course as we work through key chapters in the excellent Griffiths textbook. In the second half of the course, we will look at experimental methods and particular physical systems. These topics will be treated through a mix of lecture material, supplemental readings, homework problems, and (where suitable) student contributions.

There will be no final exam, but there will be a final project. The format of this project will be discussed in class.


DateTopicsMaterialsHW due
Tuesday 4/4 Course introduction, some review, overview of particle physics Chp. 1 as light reading, Chp. 2 as a look ahead, Chp. 3 as a review and an introduction to some notation.
Thursday 4/6 Decays, cross sections, Fermi's golden rule, Feynman diagrams, a toy theory Chp. 6 (through intro of Sec 6.3)
Tuesday 4/11 Toy theory cont'd, QED Chp. 6 (remainder), Chp. 7 (through Sec 7.4) HW 1
Thursday 4/13 QED cont'd Chp. 7 (remainder). Slides from class.
Tuesday 4/18 Hadrons, QCD, weak interaction Chp. 8, Chp. 9 (through Sec 9.5). Slides from class. HW 2
Thursday 4/20 No class
Tuesday 4/25 Weak interaction cont'd, discrete symmetries, electroweak Chp. 9 (remainder), Chp. 4 HW 3
Thursday 4/27 Electroweak cont'd, neutrino mixing Chp. 11. Slides from class.
Tuesday 5/2 Gauge theories, Higgs mechanism Chp. 10. Slides from class. HW 4
Thursday 5/4 Open questions in particle physics Chp. 12. Slides from class.
Classes after this point feature student presentations. Special topics listed below will only be a portion of each class.
Tuesday 5/9 Cosmology, astroparticle physics, cosmic rays Slides from class. HW 5
Thursday 5/11 Particle accelerators Slides from class.
Tuesday 5/16 No class. Read materials for Thursday. HW 6
Thursday 5/18 Literature discussion in class materials sent via email
Tuesday 5/23 Passage of particles through matter, particle detection principles Slides from class.
Thursday 5/25 Particle detectors, full experimental setups Slides from class.
Tuesday 5/30 Methods of particle physics data analysis HW 7
Thursday 6/1 Examining a few recent results