Physics 441

A Topical Introduction to Nuclear and Particle Physics

Spring 2011


Class Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays,  11:00 PM-12:15 noon

Room:  1219 Physics Building


Instructor:  L. A. Orozco, with invited lectures from other members of the Dept. of Physics.

Office:  Computer and Space Science 2203, (301) 405 9740.


Course Description:

This course is an introduction to particle and nuclear physics, with a topical emphasis on the impact of the Weak Interaction and the discovery of Parity Violation.  Physics 401 (or 420) and 411 are a prerequisite for the course.  Physics 402, or permission by one of the instructors, is a co-requisite.


Textbook:  There will be no required textbook, but the following books will be used regularly as references.


Additional References:

“Subatomic Physics”, by E. Henley and A. Garcia   (recommended)


“The Physics of Nuclei and Particles”, R. Dunlap

“The Experimental Foundations of Particle Physics” by R.N. Cahn and G. Goldhaber

“Introduction to High Energy Physics”, D.H. Perkins

“Introductory Nuclear Physics”, P.E. Hodgson, E. Gadioloi and E. Gadioli-Erba

"Introductory Nuclear Physics", Keneth Krane


Course Objectives and expected outcomes:

The purpose of this course is to expose students to aspects of modern research in particle and nuclear physics, starting from the historical perspective of the discovery of parity violation and the weak interaction as a course theme – it is not to be a complete survey of either field, but will instead cover selected topics and methods.  The format will be lecture-based, with some homework and practice in reading, evaluating and writing scientific papers, and emphasis on design of precision measurements and null tests. 


Grading Scheme:

Homework:                                                        25%

Writing assignments and oral presentations:      50%

Class participation:                                             25%


The exact schedule will likely change as the course develops. Below is a listing of the topics that we plan to include, in approximate order.

If you are registered in the course you have access to the Blackboard page at ELMS where you will find more recent updates to the schedule and the lecture notes.

Week of   Topic
  General Introduction  

25 Jan.

  Introduction to Symmetries
1 Feb.   Introduction to Nuclear Physics
8 Feb.   Introduction to Particle Physics
  Stting the Stage for Parity Violaton  
15 Feb.   Experimental principles of searches of PV
22 Feb.   Nuclei, radioactivity, the neutron
1Mar.   Mouns, pions and the neutrino
8 Mar.   Beta decay from 1957 to present
15 Mar.   Scattering: Rutherford to SLAC
  The Weak interaction as a Tool  
29 Mar.   Cosmology and the Origin of the Elements
5 Apr.   Neutron beta decay
12 Apr.   The weak interaction in nuclei
19 Apr.   W, Z decays, the Standard Model
26 Apr.   Neutrinos, Oscillations, CP violation
3 May    
10 May (Tuesday only)  


Last modified on January 4, 2011