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

Learning Objectives

The course is aimed to introduce the students to the fundamental concepts of astroparticle physics. Both experimental and phenomenological aspects will be treated. The link between particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology will be critically analysed. The student will understand the importance to investigate different messengers (neutrinos, cosmic rays, gamma rays) to achieve a global view of our universe and to understand its evolution. The student will acquire a critical knowledge about the most important and up-to-date topics in the field like the origin of dark matter and dark energy, the properties of neutrinos and cosmic rays, as well as the most innovative detection techniques.

Course Structure

The course is based on lectures. If available, a visit to a lab is also foreseen.

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

Main arguments:

Cosmic Ray Physics: properties and experimental techniques

Neutrinos: properties and experimental techniques

Dark Matter: properties and direct and indirect searches

Dark Energies: properties and experimental searches.


Detailed program:

  • Remind of elementary particles and their interactions: leptons, quarks, gluons, photons, W+, W-, Z0, strong, weak and electromagnetic interactions. The Standard Model of electroweak interactions.
  • The complementarity of Cosmic Ray Physics and accelerator elementary particle Physics.
  • Differential flux, spectrum and composition of primary Cosmic Rays. Primary Cosmic Rays and Extensive Air Showers.
  • Brief introduction on Galaxy morphology.
  • Cosmic Ray acceleration. Astrophysics and galactic Cosmic Ray sources. The Greisen-Zatsepin-Kuzmin cut-off. The equation of transport and propagation of Cosmic Ray in the atmosphere. The development of showers in the atmosphere (EAS).
  • Detection technique and measurement of primary Cosmic Ray properties for energies up >1022 eV: detection of protons, photons, heavy nuclei, muons, neutrinos and extensive air showers.
  • Gamma astronomy.
  • Neutrino interactions and the electroweak theory.
  • Dirac and Majorana neutrinos.
  • Neutrino oscillation. Solar and atmospheric neutrico osciallation and properties. See-Saw mechanism.
  • Neutrino experiment and detection techniques.
  • Brief introduction to Cosmology. The story of the Universe. Big Bang Nucleosynthesis.
  • Cosmic Microwave Background.
  • Dark matter: cold and hot dark matter. Candidates for DM.
  • Beyond the Standard Model Physics. Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model. Weakly Interactive Massive Particles.
  • Direct and Indirect Searches for Dark Matter.
  • Dark Energy: experimental evidence.
  • Experiments for the search of Dark Energy. SNIA. Hubble Diagram. Barionic Acoustic Oscillations.
  • Latest results of the Planck satellite.

Textbook Information

The course is mainly based on summary papers and slides provided during the lectures