Accessibility statement

Particle Physics - PHY00067H

« Back to module search

  • Department: Physics
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Istvan Cziegler
  • Credit value: 10 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22
    • See module specification for other years: 2020-21

Related modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Additional information

Students taking this module should have taken the prerequisite modules listed above (Quantum Physics II - PHY00032I or Mathematics II - PHY00030I) or the appropriate equivalent modules. 

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2021-22

Module aims

The Standard Model of Particle Physics provides our best understanding of fundamental physics at the building-block level. It describes the particles that comprise matter and the particles that mediate forces between matter particles. A full understanding of particle physics requires relativistic quantum field theory (QFT), which is a graduate level course and most certainly not the topic of this module! The aim of this module is to provide some understanding of the principles and concepts of particle physics through study of some aspects of relativistic quantum mechanics (i.e. relativistic wave equations, not QFT).

Module learning outcomes

Subject content: Simple or elementary aspects of

  • Spin-0 relativistic particles, Klein-Gordon equation, pi mesons
  • Relativistic particle kinematics, Mandelstam variables, crossing symmetry
  • Pauli equation (non-relativistic spin-1/2 particles), electrons
  • Dirac equation (relativistic spin-1/2 particles), electrons
  • Spin-1 relativistic particles (massive and massless), photons and W/Z bosons
  • A glimpse at the Higgs mechanism
  • The gauge principle and gauge theories (electromagnetic example)

Academic and graduate skills

  • Simple literature research and writing skills (essay)

Module content

The initial 4-5 lectures will review relevant material on the Standard Model, non-relativistic QM (currents and coupling of charged particles to fields), special relativity and electromagnetism (gauge transformations), prior to covering the material listed above.

The essay is designed to give students a modest opportunity to explore an area of the course in a little more depth, or an area of interest not covered in the lectures. This will require some literature/book/web research, information gathering and distillation and writing of a short (1500 word maximum essay). A highly descriptive essay or a rather more theoretical essay is acceptable, to cater for all students. Examples of essay topics might be:

  • Particle detectors
  • The discovery of XXX (XXX might be the Higgs boson, or the W/Z bosons, or – if the students have a historical bent – the neutron, or the positron, or...)
  • Accelerator physics
  • A short history or review of CERN
  • Parity violation in weak interactions
  • Neutrino oscillations
  • The neutral K meson system and CP-violation
  • QCD (quantum chromodynamics)
  • The Higgs boson in the Standard Model


Task Length % of module mark
Particle Physics Assignment 1
N/A 32
Particle Physics Assignment 2
N/A 32
Particle Physics Assignment 3
N/A 36

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Particle Physics Assignment 1
N/A 32
Particle Physics Assignment 2
N/A 32
Particle Physics Assignment 3
N/A 36

Module feedback

Our policy on how you receive feedback for formative and summative purposes is contained in our Department Handbook.

Indicative reading

Relativistic Quantum Mechanics, I J R Aitchison, (some easy parts thereof)

Gauge Theories in Particle Physics, I J R Aitchison and A J G Hey (some easy parts thereof)

Introduction to High Energy Physics, D H Perkins (some easy parts thereof)

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.