Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

This course provides an in-depth and critical view on the key aspects of the Standard Model of particle physics. It presents its successes and its limitations, theoretical as well as experimental, and the main avenues currently explored to go beyond it. At the end of the course the students will be able to understand the open problems at the frontier of high energy physics and will have developed the theoretical skills necessary to tackle them.

Course contents

1st Module

0. Course overview. Summary of the standard model (gauge structure, fundamental interactions, particle content) and open questions from a theoretical and phenomenological perspective.

1. Neutrino physics. History of neutrino physics. Neutrinos in the standard model: weak interactions, neutrino scattering and number of active neutrinos. Theory of neutrino oscillations: in vacuum and in matter. Phenomenology of neutrino oscillations: brief overview of the experimental status. Current state of knowledge of neutrinos and questions for the future. Nature of neutrinos: Majorana and Dirac particles, double beta decay without neutrinos. Neutrino masses: Dirac and Majorana masses. Origin of neutrino masses beyond the Standard Model: see-saw models and other models of masses at different scales, their theoretical motivations and experimental consequences. The problem of flavour in the lepton sector.


2nd Module

2. Strong interactions and Quantum Chromodynamics
Experimental facts and historical developments. Yang-Mills gauge theories, QCD. Quantization of gauge theories.Quantum corrections and renormalization: perturbative approaches, non perturbative formulations, Wilsonian Renormalization group (RG),effective field theories (EFT). Asymptotic freedom. Deep Inelastic scattering. Hadron structure: parton model, structure functions and parton distributions, collinear factorisation and DGLAP equations. Description of high parton density regimes. Scattering processes.

3rd Module

3. The Electroweak Sector of the Standard Model

Standard Model (SM) Lagrangian, spontaneous electroweak (EW) symmetry breaking and the Higgs sector. Linear and non-linear realisation of the gauge symmetry. Perturbative unitarity and WW scattering, triviality and stability bounds, the hierarchy problem.

Higgs-boson phenomenology: production modes at colliders and different decay channels.

Radiative corrections and renormalisation of the EW sector. Weak-boson phenomenology and EW precision observables.

Top-quark phenomenology: production, decay and coupling determination.

Interplay among the Higgs-Gauge-Fermion sectors and physics beyond the SM: introduction to the Effective-Field-Theory approach.



- C. Giunti and C. W. Kim,

Fundamentals of Neutrino Physics and Astrophysics

Oxford University Press, USA, 2007

- M. E. Peskin and D. V. Schroeder,

An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory,

(Addison Wesley, 1995)

- C.P. Burgess, G. Moore,

“The Standard Model: A Primer”,

Cambridge University Press

- Paolo Nason,

Introduction to perturbative QCD (PDF)

- Michelangelo Mangano,

Introduction to QCD (PDF)

- Böhm, Denner , Joos

Gauge Theories of the Strong and Electroweak Interaction

Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden, 2012

- Ayres Freitas

Precision Tests of the Standard Model (PDF)

Teaching methods

Lectures at the blackboard/online (in presence and/or remote), complemented by tutorials and topical seminars


Assessment methods

Oral examination including the presentation of an advanced topic


Teaching tools

Slides (PDF) for specific lectures, web resources for further reading.


Office hours

See the website of Silvia Pascoli

See the website of Gian Paolo Vacca

See the website of Davide Pagani