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Unit information: Particle Physics in 2014/15

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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 Dr. Furqaan Yusaf
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

Description including Unit Aims

This unit further develops the formalism underlying interaction of quarks and leptons using relativistic 4-vectors and Feynman diagrams. The concepts and implications of symmetries and conservation laws are introduced. The electroweak interaction is described using the concept of the propagator. Hadron physics, the strong coupling constant, asymptotic freedom, deep-inelastic scattering, Cabibbo mixing and estimates of particle decay rates are also introduced. Mechanisms of energy-loss of high-energy particles are also described. This unit is a pre-requisite for Level M/7 PHYSM0800 Particle Physics 408.


To provide a qualitative description of the interactions between quarks and leptons. To introduce the connection between symmetries and conservation laws. To introduce the basics of electroweak and hadron interactions. To describe the main processes of energy loss of high-energy particles.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Able to draw simple Feynman diagrams for the interactions between photons and charged particle and estimate relative cross-sections. Know what transformations are allowed by the weak interaction and why some quark interactions are less likely than others. Able to apply the principle of lepton conservation. Know qualitatively how the quark model accounts for the observed hadron spectrum, and able to make simple estimates of quark mass from observed hadron masses. Understand the significance of asymptotic freedom and what deep-inelastic scattering reveals about hadron structure. Able to describe the underlying physics of important energy-loss mechanisms for high-energy particles.

Teaching Information

Lectures and problems classes

Assessment Information

Written examination comprising 1 2-hour paper.

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)