Introduction to Experimental Particle Physics (171.731/171.408)

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. (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 28, 2008): Introduction: course overview, requirements, schedule, material, handouts.
Discuss Quantum and Relativistic Mechanics, Experimental approach, Energy and Size scale, Units, Connection to Cosmology. Brief overview, see handouts:
History of the Universe
Review of relativistic kinematics with examples (pion decay, colliders).

Lecture 2 (Jan 30, 2008): Review of quantum mechanics with examples (neutrino oscillations, spin statistics). Spin and helicity. Dirac equation. Leptons. Quarks. Hadrons: baryons.

Lecture 3 (Feb 4, 2008): Hadrons: mesons. Conservation laws. Unstable particles, Breit-Wigner resonance, lifetime and width, conservation laws. Decay chain to stable particles. Interactions: boson mediators. Feynman Diagrams, examples. Electromagnetic interactions (QED), Lagrangian of QED.

Lecture 4 (Feb 6, 2008): Strong interactions (QCD), Lagrangian of QCD. Weak interactions. Weak Interactions. Example of pion decay and helicity. EW unification and Higgs particle. Higgs mechanism. "New Physics": supersymmetry.
Reminder: start looking at the presentation topics.
Reminder: Finish reading the first two chapters of the main textbook.

Lecture 5 (Feb 11, 2008): Alpha-, beta-, gamma-, cosmic-rays. Radioactive sources. Cosmic-ray particles. History: Thompson and Rutherford. Major discoveries of the 20th century. Production of particles.

Lecture 6 (Feb 13, 2008): Acceleration of particles. Technical issues of accelerators. Examples of accelerator complexes. Luminosity and cross-section. e+e- cross-section as a function of energy.

Note: Special day of this lecture: Friday
Lecture 7 (Feb 15, 2008): Particle interaction with matter. Ionization energy loss. Multiple scattering. Electron interactions. Photon interactions.

Lecture 8 (Feb 18, 2008): Electro-magnetic shower. Nuclear interactions. Detectors of elementary particles. Position detectors: emulsion, cloud chamber, bubble chamber, spark chamber, streamer chamber, proportional chambers, drift chambers, time-projection chambers, silicon strip and pixel detectors.

Lecture 9 (Feb 20, 2008): Momentum detectors: magnetic spectrometers. EM shower detectors. Scintillators. Hadronic calorimeters. Particle identification principles. Time-of-flight, dE/dx, Cherenkov light, Transition radiation.

Note: Special day of this lecture: Friday
Lecture 10 (Feb 22, 2008): Examples of modern detectors.

Reminder: by now you should have selected the presentation topic, start working on the one-page summary
Reminder: We are done with Chapters 1,2,11, start reading Chapter 3

Note: no lectures in the week of Feb 25
Lecture 11 (Mar 3, 2008): 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. Parity of a complex system.

Lecture 12 (Mar 5, 2008): Charge conjugate symmetry: mesons and other examples. P- and C-conservation in strong and EM decays. Flavor symmetry: isospin and SU(2) group. SU(3). G-parity. Examples of isospin symmetry in strong decays.

Lecture 13 (Mar 10, 2008): Examples of isospin symmetry in strong decays. Neutral Kaon mesons: CP violation and time-evolution.

Lecture 14 (Mar 12, 2008): Mid-term EXAM

Reminder: one-page summary of your presentation is due today
Reminder: We are done with Chapters 1,2,3,11, start reading Chapter 4
Reminder: next week is the Spring Break

Lecture 15 (Mar 24, 2008): Quarks in hadrons: analogy with the hydrogen atom and positronium. Quarkonium spectra. Charmonium decays. Heavy flavor mesons. Light mesons and singlet-octet mixing.

Lecture 16 (Mar 26, 2008): Quarks in hadrons: baryons. Baryon magnetic moment.

Lecture 17 (Mar 31, 2008): Baryon/meson mass. Proton structure. Partons in hadrons: lepton-nucleon scattering. Hadron-hadron scattering.

Reminder: start preparing your presentation

Lecture 18 (April 2, 2008): QCD potential at small distance. QCD potential at large distance. Quark mass. Angular distribution in scattering. e+e- => mu+mu-, 2jets, 3jets, any hadrons.

Lecture 19 (April 7, 2008): Weak interactions: Weak and EM currents, Dirac equation, types of operators, V-A theory, polarisation of fermions. Observation of Parity violation. V-A operator. Propagator of a massive and massless boson. Fermi theory. Pion decay.

Lecture 20 (April 9, 2008): Observation of W and Z. Weak interactions: Cabibbo angle, GIM mechanism, CKM quark-mixing matrix.

Lecture 21 (April 14, 2008): Presentations: paper reports

Lecture 22 (April 16, 2008): Constraints on CKM matrix, CP violation, direct-CP violation, loop and box diagrams. Neutrino mixing and neutrino physics. Solar and atmospheric neutrino experiments.

Lecture 23 (April 21, 2008): Presentations: mini-research projects

Lecture 24 (April 23, 2008): Reactor neutrinos and neutrino beams, sterile and Majorana neutrinos. Largrangian of Electromagnetic interactions. QED and QCD Largrangian. Weak isospin and hypercharge current.

Lecture 25 (April 28, 2008): Largrangian of Electroweak interactions. Spontaneous symmetry breaking and the Higgs mechanism.

Lecture 26 (April 30, 2008): Physics beyond the Standard Model.

Reminder: Today is the last class
Reminder: Final exam is on Wednesday May 14 at 9am-12(noon)

Andrei Gritsan
Last update: Tue Apr 29 18:16:20 EDT 2008