Introduction to Experimental Particle Physics (171.731/171.408)

Particle physics is standing within reach of new discoveries. The undiscovered symmetries of nature which unify the fundamental forces and particles, the puzzle of dark matter and energy, and the apparent lack of antimatter in our Universe, all these mysteries are expected to be uncovered at an unprecedented energy scale with the new collider facilities. In this course we will review the current knowledge in particle physics, go through the history of the XXth century discoveries, learn about the experimental techniques necessary to study elementary particles, and discuss future directions of the field.

The course is suitable for advanced physics undergraduates and beginning graduate students interested in experimental high energy physics. Some basic knowledge of non-relativistic Quantum Mechanics, Theory of Relativity, and relevant mathematical techniques is required. However, the material will be presented in a phenomenological and empirical way with the emphasis on experimental aspects of the field. Other more advanced courses on particle physics are recommended for deeper studies of theoretical formalism.

There are also research opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate students. Johns Hopkins University faculty members are actively engaged in the leading high energy physics experiments. Contact the instructor if you are interested and want to learn more about these opportunities. (It is not a requirement for this course)

The following material will be used in the course:

See The Particle Adventure for the basic on-line introduction of the subject.

Lecture 1 (Jan 22, 2007): Introduction: course overview, requirements, schedule, material, handouts.
Discuss Quantum and Relativistic Mechanics, Experimental approach, Energy and Size scale, Units, Connection to Cosmology.

Lecture 2 (Jan 23, 2007): Brief overview, see handouts:
History of the Universe
Review of relativistic kinematics and quantum mechanics with examples (pion decay, colliders, neutrino oscillations, spin statistics). Spin and helicity. Dirac equation.

Lecture 3 (Jan 24, 2007): Leptons. Quarks. Hadrons: baryons, mesons.

Lecture 4 (Jan 29, 2007): Conservation laws. Unstable particles, Breit-Wigner resonance, lifetime and width, conservation laws. Decay chain to stable particles.

Lecture 5 (Jan 30, 2007): Interactions: boson mediators. Feynman Diagrams, examples. Electromagnetic interactions (QED), Lagrangian of QED. Strong interactions (QCD), Lagrangian of QCD. Weak interactions.

Lecture 6 (Jan 31, 2001): More on Weak Interactions. Example of pion decay and helicity. EW unification and Higgs particle. Higgs mechanism. Speculations: pentaquarks and glueballs. "New Physics": supersymmetry.

Reminder: HW1 due next Tuesday on Feb.6, 2007.
Reminder: Finish reading the first two chapters of the main textbook.

Lecture 7 (Feb.5, 2007): Alpha-, beta-, gamma-, cosmic-rays. Radioactive sources. Cosmic-ray particles. History: Thompson and Rutherford. Major discoveries of the 20th century. Papers for in-class presentations.

Reminder: come to the first-year graduate student seminar at 12(noon) in 361
"Experimental Particles Physics: Search for the Origin of Mass and Matter"

Lecture 8 (Feb.6, 2007): Production of particles. Acceleration of particles. Technical issues of accelerators.

Lecture 9 (Feb.7, 2007): Examples of accelerator complexes. Luminosity and cross-section. e+e- cross-section as a function of energy.

Lecture 10 (Feb.12, 2007): Particle interaction with matter. Ionization energy loss.

Lecture 11 (Feb.13, 2007): Multiple scattering. Electron interactions. Photon interactions. Electro-magnetic shower. Nuclear interactions.

Lecture canceled due to weather (Feb.14, 2007)

Reminder: Solve HW2
Reminder: Read chapter 11 of the main textbook.
Reminder: Next week is the deadline to select a paper.

Lecture 12 (Feb.19, 2007): Detectors of elementary particles. Position detectors: emulsion, cloud chamber, bubble chamber, spark chamber, streamer chamber, proportional chambers, drift chambers and time-projection chambers.

Lecture 13 (Feb.20, 2007): Detectors of elementary particles. Position detectors: silicon strip and pixel detectors. Momentum detectors: magnetic spectrometers. EM shower detectors.

Lecture 14 (Feb.21, 2007): Detectors of elementary particles. Scintillators. Hadronic calorimeters. Particle identification principles. Time-of-flight, dE/dx, Cherenkov light, Transition radiation. Examples of modern detectors.

Reminder: Start solving HW3
Reminder: Finish reading chapter 11, we move to chapter 3 next week.
Reminder: Today is the deadline to select a paper, summary page in two weeks.

Lecture 15 (Feb.26, 2007): Fundamental symmetries and conservation laws: energy, momentum, angular momentum, charge. Other symmetries: P, C, CP, T, CPT. Baryon and lepton numbers. Sakharov conditions. Parity of mesons.

Lecture 16 (Feb.27, 2007): Parity of a complex system. Charge conjugate symmetry: mesons and other examples. P- and C-conservation in strong and EM decays. Flavor symmetry: isospin and SU(2) group.

Lecture 17 (Feb.28, 2007): Flavor symmetry: isospin SU(2), SU(3). G-parity. Examples of isospin symmetry in strong decays.

Lecture 18 (Mar.5, 2007): Neutral Kaon mesons: CP violation and time-evolution.

Lecture 19 (Mar.6, 2007): Quarks in hadrons: analogy with the hydrogen atom and positronium. Quarkonium spectra.

Reminder: Today is the deadline for HW3
Reminder: Tomorrow is the deadline for one-page summary

Lecture 20 (Mar.7, 2007): Mid-term EXAM

Reminder: Next week is the Spring break, we will continue with Chapter 4
Reminder: Start solving HW4

Lecture 21 (Mar.19, 2007): Charmonium decays. Heavy flavor mesons. Light mesons and singlet-octet mixing.

Lecture 22 (Mar.20, 2007): Quarks in hadrons: baryons.

Lecture 23 (Mar.21, 2007) Baryon magnetic moment and mass. Proton structure.

Lecture 24 (Mar.26, 2007) Partons in hadrons: lepton-nucleon scattering. Hadron-hadron scattering. QCD potential at small distance.

Reminder: Tomorrow is the deadline for HW4
Reminder: Start solving HW5

Lecture 25 (Mar.27, 2007) QCD potential at large distance. Quark mass. Angular distribution in scattering. e+e- => mu+mu-, 2jets, 3jets, any hadrons.

Lecture 26 (Mar.28, 2007) Anomalous magnetic moment. Running coupling constants in QED and QCD. Gluonium. Quark-gluon plasma.

Lecture 27 (Apr.2, 2007) Presentation

Lecture 28 (Apr.3, 2007) Weak interactions: Weak and EM currents, Dirac equation, types of operators, V-A theory, polarisation of fermions.

Lecture 29 (Apr.4, 2007) Observation of Parity violation. V-A operator. Propagator of a massive and massless boson. Fermi theory. Pion decay. Observation of W and Z.

Lecture 30 (Apr.9, 2007) Weak interactions: Cabibbo angle, GIM mechanism, CKM quark-mixing matrix.

Reminder: Tomorrow is the deadline for HW5
Reminder: Start solving HW6

Lecture 31 (Apr.10, 2007) Constraints on CKM matrix, CP violation, direct-CP violation, loop and box diagrams.

Lecture 32 (Apr.11, 2007) Presentation

Suggestion: Come to the Johns Hopkins Physics Fair on Saturday, April 14, 2006 at 12 noon until 5 to see a lot of illustrations, including live tracks in the cloud chamber.

Lecture 33 (Apr.16, 2007) Presentation

Lecture 34 (Apr.17, 2007) Neutrino mixing and neutrino physics. Solar and atmospheric neutrino experiments.

Lecture 35 (Apr.18, 2007) Reactor neutrinos and neutrino beams, sterile and Majorana neutrinos. Largrangian of Electromagnetic interactions. QED and QCD Largrangian. Weak isospin and hypercharge current.

Lecture 36 (Apr.23, 2007) Largrangian of Electroweak interactions.

Lecture 37 (Apr.24, 2007) Spontaneous symmetry breaking and the Higgs mechanism.

Reminder: Today is the deadline for HW6

Lecture 38 (Apr.25, 2007) Physics beyond the Standard Model.

Reminder: Today is the last class
Reminder: Final exam is on Friday May 4 at 9am-12(noon)

Andrei Gritsan
Last update: Mon Apr 23 16:38:12 EDT 2007