Academic Year 2021/2022 - 1° Year - Curriculum APPLIED PHYSICS
Teaching Staff: Alessia Rita TRICOMI
Credit Value: 6
Scientific field: FIS/04 - Nuclear and subnuclear physics
Taught classes: 42 hours
Term / Semester:

Learning Objectives

Our current understanding of the sub-atomic Universe is based on a number of profound theoretical ideas that are embodied in the Standard Model of particle physics. However, the development of the Standard Model would not have been possible without a close interplay between theory and experiment. Starting from the first evidence of the nuclear structure, the course aims to discuss our current understanding of Particle Physics.

Course Structure

The course is based on lectures and exercises.

Should the circumstances require online or blended teaching, appropriate modifications to what is hereby stated may be introduced, in order to achieve the main objectives of the course.

Detailed Course Content


The Standard Model of particle Physics. Interactions of particle with matters. Experiments at accelerator

Underlying concepts:

Units in particle physics; References to special relativity (Invariant mass, threshold energy, CM and LAB system

Decay rates and cross section

Fermi’s golden rule. Particle decays. Interaction cross sections. Differential cross section

The birth of nucleus concept.

Rutherford experiment and the birth of the atomic nucleus concept. Coulomb interaction and its cross section. The discovery of the proton and neutron. The discovery of the positron and muon. The structure of the hadrons: the scattering of electrons on nuclei and nucleons.

Interaction by particle exchange.

Feynman diagrams and virtual particles. Introduction to QED. Feynman rules for QED.

Electron–positron annihilation

Electron–positron annihilation. Spin in electron–positron annihilation. Chirality.

Electron–proton elastic scattering

Probing the structure of the proton. Rutherford and Mott scattering. Form factors. Relativistic electron–proton elastic scattering. The Rosenbluth formula

Deep inelastic scattering

Electron–proton inelastic scattering. Deep inelastic scattering. Electron–quark scattering. The quark–parton model. Electron–proton scattering at the HERA collider. Parton distribution function measurements

Symmetries and the quark model

Symmetries in quantum mechanics. Flavour symmetry. Combining quarks into hadron. Ground state baryons wavefunctions. Isospin representation of antiquarks. Meson states. SU(3) flavour symmetry

The weak interaction

Phenomenology of beta decay. Leptons and neutrinos. Invariances and symmetries. Non conservation of parity in beta decay. Experiment of Wu and collaborators. Cowan-Reines Experiment. Neutrinos and antineutrinos. Mass of the neutrino. Neutrino as particle of Dirac or Majorana?

The weak interactions of leptons

Lepton universality. Neutrino scattering. Neutrino scattering experiments. Structure functions in neutrino interactions. Charged-current electron–proton scattering.

Textbook Information

The use of minutes of the lectures as well as of summary papers provided during the course is strongly suggested

Reference books:

W. E. Burcham and M. Jobes, Nuclear and Particle Physics, Pearson Education

Mark Thomson, Modern Particle Physics, Cambridge University Press

B.Pohv et al: Particles and Nuclei; Bollati Boringhieri, Torino.

R.N. Cahn e G. Goldhaber The Experimental Foundations of Particle Physics, Cambridge University Press