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PYU44P02 High Energy Physics

Hilary Term – 24 lectures/tutorials – 5 credits (C McGuinness)

Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

  • Define the properties of the underlying fundamental particles of the Standard Model; distinguish between the fundamental forces, strong and electroweak and detail how interactions between particles occur, as well as the fundamental conservation laws that apply
  • Outline the experimental methodology by which detection of high-energy particles occurs in particle physics experiments and describe the design of detection apparatus and of current and planned experiments evaluating the differences between them
  • Express the relativistic mechanics necessary for the analysis of the outcome of these experiments; be able to use this knowledge to analyse the outcome of simple two body collisions and formulate an appropriate model for the observed collision
  • Discuss the current understanding of quark and lepton mixing, such as CKM matrix; demonstrate how this is observed in experiments probing the electroweak interaction; in e-e+ collisions; in neutrino oscillations; and in CP violation leading to matter-antimatter asymmetries
  • Sketch or appraise a Feynman diagram for simple particle interactions while distinguishing between the differing interaction vertices and the gauge bosons involved; give a rough estimate of the probability of the process and evaluate what the most likely higher order contributions would be


An introduction to the theory and experimental investigation of fundamental particles and their interactions. Quantum numbers and conservation laws. Exchange interactions and Feynman diagrams, with applications to strong, weak and electromagnetic interactions in the Standard model. Resonant states. Survey of experimental techniques and results on Charm. The quark model. Unitary symmetry schemes for hadron classification. Bottom and Top quark searches, pp physics, W and Z mesons. Neutrinos and electroweak mixing. Neutral K-mesons. CP violation. Results from LEP. LHC, Standard Model and Higgs boson searches.