87967 - Introduction to Particle Physics

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Moduli: Maximiliano Sioli (Modulo 1) Maurizio Spurio (Modulo 2)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Physics (cod. 9245)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student will be introduced to the basic concepts of Particle Physics, with emphasis on the phenomenological and experimental approach. The student will acquire a basic knowledge of the fundamental interactions, the classification of particles and their properties, with reference to the Standard Model of particle physics based on leptons, quarks and gauge fields. In particular, the student will become familiar with the characteristics of the weak interaction and the phenomenology of low- and high-energy collisions with reference to classic and current experiments and he/she will have some hints on the functioning of accelerators and multipurpose detectors. Finally, the student will be able to solve simple exercises on the arguments treated in the lectures.

Course contents

  • Historical and conceptual origins; fundamental constituents and interactions (strong, electromagnetic and weak).

  • Additive and multiplicative quantum numbers (C, P, T); conservation and selection rules; couplings, masses; natural units.

  • Transition probability in perturbation theory (Fermi golden rule); cross sections, lifetimes; relation between transition probabilities and experimental measurements.

  • Characteristics of the weak interaction: beta decay and Fermi theory; parity violation; universality of the weak interaction; Cabibbo theory, GIM model and CKM matrix.

  • Hadron-hadron collisions at low energy; formation and production of resonances; quantum numbers measurements; static quark model of the hadrons; flavour and spin symmetries.

  • Lepton-nucleon collisions; deep inelastic scattering; parton model and structure functions.

  • Characteristics of linear accelerators and colliders; conversion of energy into mass.

  • Momentum/energy measurement and particle identification in multipurpose detectors.

  • Hadron-hadron collisions at high energy (cross sections, production of jets, W and Z bosons, b and t quarks), with particular emphasys on LHC.


  • D.H. Perkins, Introduction to High Energy Physics, Addison-Wesley

  • S. Braibant, G. Giacomelli, M. Spurio, Particelle ed interazioni fondamentali, Springer

  • Teacher's notes onVirtuale

Teaching methods

Lectures and exercises in the lecture-hall.

The exercises, carried out by the lecturer, aim to consolidate the knowledge of the arguments treated by means or specific quantitative exercises.

Assessment methods

The final examination is for the evaluation of the student level of learning of the arguments presented and of the student understanding of the fundamental principles of High Energy Physics.

The grades are based on the quality of the answers given to several questions posed during an oral examination.

Teaching tools

Slides and blackboard

Office hours

See the website of Maximiliano Sioli

See the website of Maurizio Spurio