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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Physics and Astronomy : Undergraduate (School of Physics and Astronomy)

Undergraduate Course: Particle Physics (PHYS11042)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Physics and Astronomy CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Year 5 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryParticle physics studies the interactions of the fundamental constituents of matter, quarks and leptons.
This course is primarily an introduction to the experimental study of particle physics, but it also gives an understanding of the theoretical description of particle physics known as the Standard Model.

Course description Introduction.
Feynman diagrams. Scattering cross-sections. Decay rates.
Dirac equation. Spinors.
Electromagnetic interactions. Quantum Electrodynamics (QED).
Weak Interactions. Weak decays. Neutrino scattering.
The parton model. Parton density functions.
Strong interactions. Gluons. Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD).
Confinement and asymptotic freedom.
Quark model of hadrons. Isospin and Strangeness. Heavy quarks.
Production of hadrons. Resonances. Fragmentation and jets.
Weak decays of hadrons. CKM matrix.
Symmetries. Parity. Charge conjugation. Time reversal. CP and CPT.
Mixing and CP violation in K and B decays.
Neutrino oscillations. PMNS matrix. Neutrino masses.
Electroweak Theory. W and Z masses. Precision tests at LEP.
Spontaneous symmetry breaking. The Higgs boson.
The discovery of the Higgs boson.
LHC physics
Beyond the Standard Model. Supersymmetry. Grand unification.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Relativity, Nuclear and Particle Physics (PHYS10096) OR ( Nuclear and Particle Physics (PHYS10106) AND Electromagnetism and Relativity (PHYS10093))
Students MUST have passed: Quantum Mechanics (PHYS09053) OR Principles of Quantum Mechanics (PHYS10094)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisites1) Special relativity course up to using four vectors and Lorentz invariant scalar products
2) Non relativistic Quantum Mechanics up to perturbation theory
3) An introductory particle physics course would also be helpful.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 20, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 56 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 100 %, Coursework 0 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Degree Examination, 100%
Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:00
Resit Exam Diet (August)Particle Physics Resit2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Describe particle physics interactions through the use of Feynman diagrams; understand the role of elementary bosons (photon, W and Z) as exchange particles in the electromagnetic and weak interactions, and be able to write down simple amplitudes. Basic understanding of the Dirac equation and the use of its solutions as spinors to describe the states of elementary fermions (quarks and leptons).
  2. Understand the concept of a renormalisable gauge theory through the example of Quantum Electrodynamics (QED). Describe the role of discrete symmetries, and in particular parity violation in weak decays.
  3. Describe the parton structure of the nucleon as deduced from deep inelastic scattering experiments; including the ideas of Bjorken scaling and scaling violation; draw the parton density functions for valence quarks, sea quarks and gluons. Describe strong interactions in terms of gluon exchange between quarks; including the ideas of confinement and asymptotic freedom; have a basic knowledge of Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) including the symmetry of SU(3) colour.
  4. Categorise hadrons according to their quark content, spin and isospin; know the selection rules for strong, weak and electromagnetic decays of hadrons. Describe the properties of heavy quarks, including their decays to light quarks; know the form of the CKM quark-mixing matrix and understand its role in CP violation in K and B meson decays.
  5. Describe the properties of neutrinos, including recent experimental results on solar and atmospheric neutrino oscillations. Describe the electroweak theory and have a knowledge of the experimental tests of the theory; understand the idea of spontaneous symmetry breaking and be able to describe the Higgs mechanism.
Reading List
Modern Particle Physics
AUTHOR: Mark Thomson
ISBN: 9781107034266
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information Two lectures (three in week 1) and one tutorial session per week (weeks 2-11).
Course organiserProf Victoria Martin
Tel: (0131 6)51 7042
Course secretaryMrs Catherine MacMillan
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