PHS3302 - Relativity and particle physics - 2019

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

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Alexis Bishop


Associate Professor Peter Skands

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2019 (On-campus)


PHS3101 and PHS3201 or

PHS3031 and PHS3131




This unit explores topics in particle physics:

Enabling physics: relativistic kinematics, symmetries.

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.

Elementary Particle Physics: experimental methods used in contemporary subatomic physics, the Standard Model of particle physics, quantum chromodynamics, 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.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe and perform calculations associated with fundamental concepts in particle physics.
  2. Apply numerical modelling to solve problems in particle physics;
  3. Demonstrate awareness of scientific computing methods and visualization.
  4. Demonstrate an ability to work in teams and to communicate and discuss physics concepts.
  5. Find solutions to new problems in particle physics on the basis of general principles, and evaluate the appropriateness of their proposed models or solutions.


NOTE: From 1 July 2019, the duration of all exams is changing to combine reading and writing time. The new exam duration for this unit is 3 hours and 10 minutes.

Examination (3 hours): 50%

In-semester assessment : 50%

Workload requirements

The workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours spread across the semester (approximately 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

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