PHY 557

Elementary Particle Physics 

Spring 2018


Place and Time:


Phy557 is an introduction to Modern Elementary Particle Physics. The course is an overview of the field. The course will start with the basic particle physics taxonomy. The basics of field theory required for quantification of relativistic processes will be introduced. The three well established gauge theories: QED, QCD and electroweak interactions will be described and the basic techniques to evaluate cross sections and decay rates for some processes at first order will be given. The final part of the course will review the basics of experimental techniques and characteristic examples of experiments in particle physics. 


These are the text books being used to prepare the lectures, notes will be provided that guide you through the relevant sections taken from these books:

The particle data listings will be useful. It can be accessed online by the students at Particle Data Group 


Chapter 1 ``Basics and Overview of particle physics'': Natural Units;Elementary particles and interactions; Baryons and mesons; Weak interactions; More generations; Relativistic Kinematics: Lorentz transformations; Energy-momentum four-vector: Examples. 

Chapter 2 `` Fields for Elementary Particles'': Scalars: free fields and propagators; Dirac Fermions: free fields and propagators; Vectors: free fields and propagators; 

Chapter 3 ``From Interaction Amplitudes to Observables'': Example of fermion-scalar interaction: perturbative expansion; Wick's theorem and Feynman rules; Observables: decay width and scattering cross section. 

Chapter 4 ``QED for leptons'' :Electromagnetic interaction as a U(1) (Abelian) gauge theory (QED); Feynman rules for QED; Calculation of scattering amplitudes and cross sections at tree level for several processes in QED; 

Chapter 5 ``QED and the structure of hadrons'': Concept of form factors; e-p -->e-p elastic scattering: proton form factors; e-p -->e-p elastic inelastic scattering; Bjorken scaling and quarks; quark distribution functions; the gluons. 

Chapter 6 ``Strong Interactions: Quantum Chromodynamics'': Representations of SU(N); Evidence of 3 colours: e+e---> hadrons; Lagrangian and Feynman rules for QCD; q qbar interactions: colour singlet and colour octet configurations; Tests of perturbative QCD: Drell-Yan, e+e--> 2 jets and the spin of the quark; e+e- --> 3 jets and the spin of the gluon ; Internal symmetries and classification of bound states of strong interactions (hadrons): SU(2) isospin flavour and SU(3) flavour. 

Chapter 7 ``Weak Interactions'': Weak decays and parity violation: V-A weak charged currents; W boson as mediator of weak charged currents; Low energy tests: Weak neutral currents: Z0 and the GIM mechanism; CP violation. 

Chapter 8 ``Electroweak Unification'': Weinberg-Salam Model of Electroweak Interactions; Spontaneous symmetry breaking; The Higgs Boson; 

Chapter 9 ``Experimental Techniques in Particle Physics'': Interaction of particles with matter. Tracking detectors; Calorimetry; Cherenkov detectors; Time of Flight; Particle identification.

Chapter 10 ``Experiments in Particle Physics'': Summary of some of the classical experiments in particle physics; Overview of some of the presently running experiments in particle physics at the LHC and their physics goals, with emphasis on Higgs physics (ATLAS, CMS); Outlook for future experiments.

The theory part of this course and the exercises are largely based on previous lecture material put together by Prof. Concha Gonzalez-Garcia.

Problem Sets and Grading:

Problem sets will be assigned in class and are due on the date shown. You are expected to solve them on your own and the final calculations handed in must be your own work and must be written by hand . Late homework will not be accepted. The final grade will be based on the homeworks and a final work or exam and a possible midterm exam depending on the number of students registered.

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Homework Assignment 12 

Useful Links:

Special Notes:

Any excuses (medical or otherwise) are to be documented, and discussed with the instructors in a timely manner. If you have a physical, psychological, medical or learning disability that may impact on your ability to carry out assigned course work, we urge that you contact the staff in the Disabled Student Services office (DSS), Room 133 Humanities, 632-6748/TDD. DSS will review your concerns and determine, with you, what accommodations are necessary and appropriate. All information and documentation of disability is confidential.

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY Each student must pursue his or her academic goals honestly and be personally accountable for all submitted work. Representing another persons work as your own is always wrong. Any suspected instance of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Academic Judiciary. For more comprehensive information on academic integrity, including categories of academic dishonesty, please refer to the academic judiciary website at