Ph 139
Introduction to Particle Physics
Spring 2020

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, and homework problems.

There will be no final exam, but there will be two projects: an in-class presentation and a final paper. The formats of these projects will be discussed in class.

DateTopicsMaterialsHW due
Tue 3/31 Online course set up: A/V tests, feedback on tools, etc.
Thu 4/2 Online course set up: A/V tests, feedback on tools, etc.
Tue 4/7 Start of instruction. 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.
Thu 4/8 Decays, cross sections, Fermi's golden rule, Feynman diagrams, a toy theory Chp. 6 (through intro of Sec 6.3)
Tue 4/14 Toy theory cont'd, QED Chp. 6 (remainder), Chp. 7 (through Sec 7.4) HW 1
Thu 4/16 QED cont'd Chp. 7 (remainder).
Tue 4/21 Hadrons, QCD, weak interaction Chp. 8, Chp. 9 (through Sec 9.5). HW 2
Thu 4/23 Weak interaction cont'd, discrete symmetries, electroweak Chp. 9 (remainder), Chp. 4
Tue 4/28 Electroweak cont'd, neutrino mixing Chp. 11. HW 3 and all following homeworks will be only posted to the Moodle page.
Thu 4/30 Gauge theories, Higgs mechanism Chp. 10.
Classes after this point include student presentations. Special topics listed below will only be a portion of each class.
Tue 5/5 Open questions in particle physics Chp. 12.
Thu 5/7 Cosmology, astroparticle physics, cosmic rays
Tue 5/12 Particle accelerators
Thu 5/14 Passage of particles through matter, particle detection principles
Tue 5/19 Particle detectors, full experimental setups
Thu 5/21 Methods of particle physics data analysis
Tue 5/26 (Enrollment-dependent: default is student presentations)
Thu 5/28 (Enrollment-dependent: default is student presentations)