PHS3062 - Fundamental particle physics - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

School of Physics and Astronomy


Professor German Valencia

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2017 (Day)


This unit consists of two 12-lecture sub-units and laboratory work. Key areas are:

  1. Foundations: a century of discoveries, leptons and weak interactions, neutrino oscillations, quarks and hadrons, the role of conservation laws, symmetries of space and time, and the Dirac equation.
  2. Elementary Particle Physics: experimental methods used in contemporary subatomic physics, the Standard Model of particle physics, quantum chromo-dynamics, jets and gluons, a unified description of electromagnetic and weak forces, quark mixing, W and Z bosons, the Higgs mechanism, and connections to cosmology and physics beyond the Standard Model.
  3. Laboratory work: experimental laboratory work on relevant topics.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe concepts and perform calculations in Fundamental Particle Physics within the Standard Model, which include relativistic wave equations, symmetries and conservations laws, with applications to the electroweak and strong interactions.
  2. Solve new problems in physics related to the core concepts of the unit by drawing on the theoretical underpinnings that illustrate the physics.
  3. Perform measurements and analysis on experiments that demonstrate the theoretical physics described in this and other physics units.
  4. Produce experimental reports that present results, analyse and discuss the implications and outcomes of experimental work.


Examination (3 hours): 46%

Laboratory work: 34% (Hurdle)

Assignments: 20%

Hurdle requirement: Students must achieve a pass mark in the practical component to achieve an overall pass grade.

Workload requirements

The workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours spread across the semester (roughly 12 hours per week) - approximately an even mixture of attendance at scheduled activities and self-scheduled study time. Learning activities comprise a mixture of instructor directed, peer directed and self-directed learning, which includes face-to-face and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study



Recommended: PHS2081


Recommended: PHS3131