Physics 613 - Spring 2018

Overview of the Course

Course Outline

This course will cover the Standard Model of particle physics and the present state of experimental particle physics. We will describe the Standard Model as a quantum field theory and we will calculate processes (cross sections and decays) within the framework of field theory using Feynman diagram formalism. The use quantum field theory, while serious, will be somewhat heuristic with emphasis on a basic understanding rather than mathematical rigor. For a more complete coverage of quantum field theory, you should take the two-semester course sequence 616 and 619 on quantum fields. Our purpose is to describe the Standard Model at the level at which is should be understood by all physicists and to enable experimental particle physicists to develop insights into what are the currently important questions in particle physics.

The outline of the course is the following

  1. Relativistic Quantum Mechanics (3 lectures)
  2. Quantum Fields (4 lectures)
  3. The Standard Model (5 lectures)
  4. Calculations of Cross Sections and Decays (8 lectures)
  5. QCD (3 lectures)
  6. CP Violation and Neutrino Physics (3 lectures)
  7. Beyond the Standard Model (2 lectures)

You can find a preliminary syllabus for the course here.


Students will be expected to have a firm basis in Quantum Mechanics as presented in the Fall course 501. First year students confident in their ability should feel to take this course concurrently with 502. We will begin the course with the development of the Dirac Theory of Relativistic Quantum Mechanics. This will assume no prior knowledge of the subject although we will proceed rapidly, so, prior exposure could be helpful.


Lectures will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:20 pm to 4:40 pm. The room is still to be determined. I encourage you very much to ask questions and initiate discussions during the lectures. That is the best way to make the lectures effective. I will post lecture notes on the Sakai web site after each lecture. These notes will consist of summaries of the main points of the lecture. They aren't meant to be self contained so you'll probably find them difficult to understand if you don't attend the lecture to see them in context.

Office Hours

I will not be having regular office hours but I am very happy to discuss any aspect of the course with you. If you would like to meet with me, please send email to <>. This is a special email account that I've set up for this course in order to keep the email separate from all my others. Please use this email for communications having to do with this course. My office is Serin 328 W.


The text book is Gauge Theories in Particle Physics (Volumes 1 and 2) by Aitchison and Hey. This is an excellent book and matches well the intended content and level of the course. The most recent (fourth edition) is preferred but the third or second editions would also be all right. Some additional textbooks that you might find useful are:


There will be approximately ten homework assignments during the semester. These will in general consist of a range of problems from straight forward to challenging. Making an attempt at the homework problems is very important in order to fully learn the material. The homework assignments will be due at midnight on Sunday evenings. They are to be submitted electronically through Sakai. Before the first homework assignment is due, I will post a list of rules that must be followed when submitting.


The course grade will be based on attendance, class participation and homework. There will not be any exams.

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This page is maintained by Prof. Steve Schnetzer.