MMath&Phys Mathematics and Physics

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Particle Physics

Course unit fact file
Unit code PHYS40222
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 4
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Department of Physics & Astronomy
Available as a free choice unit? No


Particle Physics


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Introduction to Nuclear and Particle Physics PHYS30121 Pre-Requisite Compulsory

Follow - Up Units

PHYS40521 - Frontiers of Particle Physics 1

PHYS40722 - Frontiers of Particle Physics 2


To study the basic constituents of matter and the nature of interactions between them.

Learning outcomes

On completion successful students will be able to:

1. understand the principles of the quark model.

2. understand all interactions in terms of a common framework of exchange quanta.

3. represent interactions and decays in terms of Feynman diagrams.

4. apply relativistic kinematics to reaction and decay processes.

5. appreciate the likely direction of new research over the next 10 years.


1.  Ingredients of the Standard Model

Quarks and leptons.  Mesons and baryons.

Exchange of virtual particles.  Strong, electromagnetic and weak interactions.

2.  Relativistic kinematics

Invariant mass, thresholds and decays.

3.  Conservation laws

Angular momentum.  Baryon number, lepton number.  Strangeness.  Isospin.

Parity, charge conjugation and CP.

4.  The quark model


Resonances; formation, production and decay.

Heavy quarks, charm, bottom and top.

Experimental evidence for quarks.

Colour; confinement and experimental value.

5.  Weak interactions

Parity violation.  Helicity.

CP violation, K0 and B0 systems.

6.  The Standard Model and beyond

Quark-lepton generations.

Neutrino oscillations.

The Higgs boson.

Grand Unified Theories


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

Feedback will be offered by examples class tutors based on examples sheets, and model answers will be issued.


Recommended reading

Martin, B.R. & Shaw, G. Particle Physics (Wiley) (Main text)
Perkins, D.H. Introduction to High Energy Physics (CUP)

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 1.5
Lectures 23
Independent study hours
Independent study 75.5

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Andrew Pilkington Unit coordinator
Alexander Oh Unit coordinator

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