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Unit information: Particle Physics in 2016/17

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Unit name Particle Physics
Unit code PHYS32012
Credit points 10
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Dugdale
Open unit status Not open

120 credit points of units at level I/5 in Physics, Physics with Astrophysics, joint honours Mathematics and Physics or Physics and Philosophy, including PHYS22040.



School/department School of Physics
Faculty Faculty of Science



This unit will provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the Standard Model of Particle Physics and experimental techniques of relevance to current and proposed particle detector facilities.


1. To introduce the study of quark and gluon physics via measurements of hadrons and high-energy jets.

2. To develop the idea and formalism of quark mixing.

3. To introduce the discrete symmetries of parity, time reversal and charge conjugation; and their violation in weak interaction processes.

4. To describe the main processes of energy loss for high-energy particles.

5. To review the facilities and techniques used in experimentation at the energy frontier; and at the frontiers of precision and intensity.

Intended learning outcomes

Explain the term “asymptotic freedom”, and discuss the ways in which measurements of hadron interactions can be used to study quarks and gluons.

Explain the observed spectrum of short-lived hadron states in terms of their quark composition.

Compare rates of weak interaction processes taking into account the Cabibbo-Kobayashi-Maskawa description of quark mixing.

Discuss the evidence for violation of parity in weak interactions; and the significance of measurements of charge conjugation-parity (CP) violation effects.

Explain the functions of different components of a general-purpose particle detection system for use with high-energy collisions

Describe the main processes by which high-energy, relativistic particles interact with matter, and their importance for particle detection.

Recognise the signatures of the production of high mass particles including W and Z bosons, Higgs bosons and top quarks in collider experiments.

Teaching details

18 Lectures and 2x 2 hour problems classes

Assessment Details

Formative feedback through problems sheets and problems classes Written examination comprising 1 2-hour paper (100%).

Reading and References

  • Martin and Shaw Particle Physics (Wiley)
  • Williams Nuclear and Particle Physics (OUP)
  • Duff Fundamental Particles (Taylor and Francis)
  • Coughlan and Dodd The Ideas of Particle Physics (CUP)