Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2020/2021

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student will know the conceptual foundations of subnuclear physics. He/she will be introduced to the notions of symmetry principles and groups and their mathematical formalism, in order to describe the gauge theories (QED, QFD and QCD) of the Standard Model as well as its possible extensions.

Course contents

Continuous symmetries and Noether theorem; global and local gauge theories, Abelian (electromagnetism) and non Abelian (Yang-Mills theory of isospin) gauge theories. – Spontaneous symmetry breaking (SSB), Nambu-Goldstone theorem, Brout-Englert-Guralnik-Hagen-Higgs-Kibble mechanism and Higgs boson. – Gauge theory of electromagnetic interactions (QED) and U(1)-e.m. symmetry group; Dirac equation, helicity and chiral representation, introduction to Feynman diagrams and rules (propagators, vertex factors, invariant amplitude). – Weak interactions, gauge theory of electroweak interactions (QFD) and SU(2)-left x U(1)-weak-hypercharge group. – Standard Model, flavour mixing, Cabibbo angle, Glashow-Iliopoulos-Maiani mechanism, Kobayashi-Maskawa matrix, CP violation. – Gauge theory of colour interactions (QCD) and SU(3)-colour group; introduction to quark confinement. – Introduction to renormalization and running, to supersymmetry (SUSY) and grand unification (GUT).
–– SPECIFIC TOPICS: – Phenomenology of heavy nuclei interactions at LHC: key examples and experimental measurements. – Deconfinement and chiral symmetry breaking, ultraperipheral collisions, quantum number flow (leading effect) in various kinds of interaction.


A. Zichichi, Subnuclear Physics-The First 50 Years: Highlights from Erice to ELN (World Scientific) – C. Quigg, Gauge Theories of the Strong, Weak and Electromagnetic Interactions (Addison-Wesley Publishing Company) – I.J.R. Aitchison, A.J.G. Hey, Gauge Theories in Particle Physics, volume I: From Relativistic Quantum Mechanics to QED; volume II: QCD and the Electroweak Theory (Institute of Physics Publishing) – F. Halzen, A.D. Martin, Quarks and Leptons: an Introductory Course in Modern Particle Physics (John Wiley & Sons) – D. Griffiths, Introduction to Elementary Particles (Wiley-vch) – S. Coleman, Selected Erice Lectures Aspects of Symmetry (Cambridge University Press) – A. Bettini, Introduction to Elementary Particle Physics (Cambridge University Press) – R.H. Mohapatra, Unification and Supersymmetry: the Frontiers of Quark-Lepton Physics (Springer-Verlag) – I. Aitchison, Supersymmetry in Particle Physics (Cambridge University Press)

Teaching methods

Lectures (48 hours), also including a number of topical seminars

Assessment methods

Presentation, at least 7 days before the oral examination, of a written essay on a topic assigned by the teacher, of no more than 25 pages.

Subsequent oral examination with presentation via slides of the essay, during which questions will be asked by the teacher not only on the topic presented but, in general, on the various contents of the course.

Teaching tools

Slides and video projector

Office hours

See the website of Luisa Cifarelli