The University of Southampton

PHYS6011 Particle Physics

Module Overview

Relativistic wave equations with their predictions of anti-particles and fermion spin will be explored. The fundamental role of gauge symmetries in current theories of force will lead to the study of the standard model of particle physics including the symmetry breaking higgs mechanism. The importance of the most recent collider experiments such as LEP, the Tevatron and the upcoming LHC will be addressed through 6 guest lectures by experts in the field from RAL. Finally theories of particle physics beyond the standard model will be briefly investigated concentrating on their motivations and testable consequences.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The course will take an in depth look at our experimental and theoretical understanding of the interactions of fundamental particles.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Understand and be able to calculate in relativistic quantum mechanics
  • Appreciate the role of symmetries in particle physics
  • Understand symmetry breaking mechanisms in particle physics
  • Have a broad overview of the standard model and its predictions
  • Have a broad overview of collider and detector design and running


Review of particles and their properties Relativistic Quantum Mechanics - Klein Gordon equation and negative energy solutions - Dirac equation, anti-particles and spin Quantum Electro Dynamics - Photons - Minimal substitution - Feynman rules of QED from Fermi's Golden Rule & g-2 - Gauge invariance Quantum Chromo Dynamics - SU(3) colour symmetry - Feynman rules - Asymptotic Freedom and the non-perturbative regime - Colour singlets Electro-weak Theory - SU(2) weak isospin - Symmetry breaking and the higgs boson - U(1) hypercharge - fermion masses, CKM matrices and CP violation Beyond the Standard Model - Neutrino mass - Naturalness and new higgs physics. - The quantum gravity problem Collider Physics - Particle sources and acceleration - Particle interactions with matter - Collider experiments and detectors - Event reconstruction and analysis

Learning and Teaching

Preparation for scheduled sessions18
Wider reading or practice66
Completion of assessment task2
Follow-up work18
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Perkins (an experimental view of the subject). Introduction to High Energy Physics. 

Gorbunov and Rubakov (for Cosmology part). Introduction to the Theory of the Early Universe. 

Online Materials.

Aitchison and Hey (more formal core book). Gauge Theories in Particle Physics. 

Halzen and Martin (more phenomenological core book). Quarks and Leptons. 

Dunningham & Vedral (for revision). Introductory Quantum Physics and Relativity. 

Lee (essential for the part con colliders). Accelerator Physics. 

Casalbuoni (good entry book to QFT). Introduction to Quantum Field Theory. 

Martin and Shaw (more phenomenological core book). Particle Physics. 


Assessment Strategy

Non compulsory problem sheets are available on the website, including model answers, though they are not used for formal (summative) assessment purposes.


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (2 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: PHYS3003 AND PHYS3004 AND PHYS3007 AND PHYS3008

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