PHY-30033 - Particle Physics and Accelerators
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 6
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 734921

Programme/Approved Electives for 2023/24


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2023/24

This is an optional module that is open to any student in the third year of any single- or dual-honours Physics or Astrophysics degree programme. The module covers a range of topics in elementary particle physics, including the ingredients and the physical structure of the Standard Model; lepton phenomenology and neutrino physics; the quark model for the internal structures of baryons and mesons; experimental evidence for quarks; and aspects of quantum chromodynamics and electroweak unification. It also gives an introduction to the physics and the operation of linear and circular particle accelerators. It builds upon some fundamentals of special relativity and quantum mechanics, and elements of nuclear physics and particle phenomenology, that all Physics and Astrophysics students will have in common from their core studies in the first two years of their degrees. Assessment is by problem sheets, an essay (requiring some independent research) and an exam.

This module aims to impart a working knowledge of fundamental topics and methods in elementary particle physics, and to enable quantitative understanding of recent advances in the field. It also explores the main physical and operational principles of particle accelerators.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

detail the elementary particles, fundamental forces, symmetries and conservation laws of the Standard Model, and apply these to analyse particle reactions and decays;: 1,2
use the quark model, isospin formalism and basic quantum mechanics to classify hadrons, determine their internal structures and explain their properties;: 1,2
employ special relativity and quantum mechanics to calculate and analyse a range of physical phenomena, processes and experiments involving elementary and subatomic particles;: 1,2
describe and apply some of the key ideas, empirical foundations and predictions of quantum theories for the strong and electroweak forces;: 1,2
derive and use equations to calculate the relativistic and non-relativistic dynamics of particles, including within beams in linear and circular accelerators and colliders;: 1,2
compare and contrast the operation and design principles, advantages and limitations of the main types of particle accelerators;: 1,3
research and report on the physics of an application or an operational aspect of particle accelerators.: 3


Study hours

Lectures: 24 hours (scheduled)
Tutorials: 12 hours (scheduled)
Completion of problem sheets and essay: 45 hours (estimated)
Other private study (including exam revision): 67 hours
Exam: 2 hours

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Exam weighted 70%
Unseen exam
Two-hour written examination. Students answer three questions from a choice of five. Questions test a mix of factual knowledge and problem-solving ability and can require mathematical and numerical calculations or descriptive answers or combinations thereof.

2: Problem Sheets weighted 20%
Problem sheets
Three sets of mathematical and/or numerical and/or computational problems, with each set weighted equally in the total module mark.

3: Essay weighted 10%
1000-word essay
A 1000-word piece of scientific writing focusing on the physics of one industrial or scientific application or one operational aspect of particle accelerators. Requires research going beyond material delivered in lectures and assigned readings.